On Saturday Celtic will have their last home game of a very peculiar season when Eastwood Town visit for the Conference North clash (kick off 3pm). The game will be followed by the player of the year awards in the Social Club afterwards. Eastwood are currently one place and one point above Celtic with a game in hand in ninth with fifty-three points. There will be a live match centre for this game.
Eastwood stormed into the Conference North winning seven of their opening ten games, and attaining top spot. However, a faltering period saw them drop out of the play-off spots. Two wins in their last three have lifted them back to within sight of the play-offs again, but with a maximum point total of sixty-five, with Hinckley on sixty-one would mean that Eastwood would have to win their remaining fixtures, which is a tall order. With them facing Hinckley on Thursday that could either make or break their hopes of attaining the play-offs and will affect how they play on Saturday when they face us, and it could come down to the last game of the season when they face league leaders Southport. They have lost only three times at home this season, their first home loss of the campaign was against Celtic, whilst the only other teams to beat them in Eastwood were Fleetwood and Gloucester, both of whom took six points off them this season. Away from home they have won three of their last ten, beating Droylsden, Redditch and Blyth. Teams that they have taken six points off this season.
We met Eastwood back in September, when we beat them 3-1 in a downpour.
Eastwood?s top scorer this campaign is Lindon Meikel on eleven, though Danny Holland is pushing him all the way for the golden boot, sitting one behind him on ten. They are a second half team, with seventeen of their fifty goals this season coming in the last fifteen minutes, whilst they concede most heavily in the same period, with fifteen of their forty-eight goals against in the last fifteen. On average they score 1.5 goals per game away (1.4 overall), and concede 1.6 away from home on average (1.3 overall). They have failed to score three times on the road, and kept only two clean sheets. In their last six away games they have scored four and conceded six.
Eastwood will have played Saturday (at home to Solihull) Wednesday (away at Forest Town in the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup), Thursday (away at Hinckley) before they play us on Saturday. However, they appear to be currently injury and suspension free. In their last league match, the 2-1 home win over Solihull Moors, they lined up as:
1. John Danby
2. Russell Cooke
3. Paul Riley
4. Ross Gardner
5. Paul Robinson
6. Tom Marshall
7. Jonathon D?Laryea
8. Anton Foster
9. Simon Brown
10. Lindon Meikle
11. Sam Duncum
Keith Briggs has completed his suspension, whilst Craig Hobson made a surprise return to the bench in Tuesday?s 1-1 draw with Northwich Victoria, although Jody Banim left the field with his leg strapped after pulling up, and will have to be carefully assessed ahead of the Eastwood game. In the Northwich game, Celtic lined up as:
1. Dave Carnell
2. Barrie Keeling
3. Andy Smart
4. Steve Woods
5. Michael Carr
6. Tim Ryan
7. Connor Jennings
8. Greg Wilkinson
9. Joe O?Neill
10. Jody Banim
11. Matty Barlow
The automated prediction algorithm is suggesting a 2-2 draw on Saturday, but with their exertions this week, it would be a good chance for Celtic to sign off their season with a home win.
Other games this week (Celtic are on 52pts in 10th):Thursday
Gloucester City (41pts 16th) v Harrogate Town (23pts 21st)
Hinckley United (58pts 6th) v Eastwood Town (53pts 9th)Saturday
AFC Telford United (51pts 11th) v Corby Town (54pts 7th)
Blyth Spartans (48pts 12th) v Fleetwood Town (79pts 2nd)
Hinckley United (58pts 6th) v Harrogate Town (23pts 21st)
Ilkeston Town (54pts 8th) v Alfreton Town (67pts 3rd)
Northwich Victoria (44pts 15th) v Gloucester City (41pts 16th)
Redditch United (37pts 19th) v Vauxhall Motors (31pts 20th)
Solihull Moors (41pts 17th) v Workington (63pts 4th)
Southport (80pts 1st) v Hyde United (44pts 14th)
Stafford Rangers (40pts 18th) v Gainsborough Trinity (44pts 13th)