On Easter Monday, Celtic face Chorley (kick off 3pm). Chorley are fifth in the league on seventy points, forty-one points and sixteen places above Celtic, having played a game more. There will be a match centre and Twitter feed for this game.
Chorley are looking to secure a play-off spot, with Brackley, Stockport and Salford all waiting for a slip-up by Chorley or Darlington to sneak in and take their place at a crucial point in the season. There is no way Chorley will be letting up for anything other than a win against Celtic. Chorley have been in the top six virtually all season, though they have not won away from home since they beat Brackley at the start of January, having three losses and four draws since then on the road. Their most recent three away games saw them lose 2-1 to Harrogate and draw 1-1 with Salford and (most recently) Nuneaton Town. Their away form has not been great all season, with six wins from nineteen games, compared to fourteen at home. They won their last game, at home to Worcester, beating them 1-0, and stuffed Gainsborough 4-0 (also at home). Indeed, they’ve had a good record against the bottom five, also beating AFC Telford and Alfreton (both at home), though out of these, only against Bradford have they taken six points.
Away from home, they have scored twenty-three goals (fifty-seven overall), at a rate of 1.2 goals per game (1.5 overall), whilst they have conceded nineteen (thirty-seven overall), at a rate of a goal per game. This defensive record has seen them currently top of the defensive charts, with no other team conceding fewer. They have kept nine clean sheets on the road (seventeen overall), and only failed to score four times (six overall). Their top scorer is Jason Walker, who has thirteen goals.
The weight of history is on Chorley’s side, with Celtic not having beaten Chorley since 2001 when we beat them in the League Cup. In the league, you have to go back to 1991 when we last beat them at home in the Northern Premier League. In their last seven visits, Celtic have won twice, Chorley three times, and there have been two draws. Chorley’s last two visits saw the Magpies win 1-0 in both games. Indeed, the last time we scored against them in the league was in 1998 when we list 2-1 at their place, and in the same season, we drew 1-1 at home. The league’s strongest defence, against the third weakest attack from a team who haven’t scored in the league over them in twenty years? It is a tough ask.
Chorley’s last result was the 1-0 win at home to Worcester, in which they lined up as:
1. Ritchie Branagan
2. Matt Challoner
3. Adam Blakeman
4. Andy Teague
5. Scott Leather
6. Kieran Charnock
7. Jason Walker
8. Dale Whitham
9. Marcus Carver
10. Jack Sampson
11. Jake Cottrell
Celtic’s last match was the 2-1 away defeat to Gloucester, where we lined up as:
1. Grant Shenton
2. Danny Morton
3. Danny Wisdom
4. Matty Hughes
5. Adam Mather
6. Aaron Chalmers
7. Kieran Dunbar
8. Matt Regan
9. Andy Bishop
10. James Roberts
11. Danny Pilkington
After twisting his knee against Gloucester, Danny Pilkington is unlikely to make an appearance on Monday.
It’s been said often that Celtic must win this game. We have four games left, twelve points to play for and we’re five points behind Worcester and Gainsborough, with a game in hand (Harrogate a week on Tuesday). One win by Telford or Alfreton will put them safe, as the cut-off point is currently forty-three points, a loss by Gainsborough or Worcester will bring that down to forty. Celtic can, at most get forty-one. We’re not mathematically down yet, but a win by Worcester and Gainsborough, and a loss by Celtic, on Monday would leave them only needing a point to secure safety. Times are desperate.
Other games on Monday:
AFC Fylde (81pts 1st) v Bradford Park Avenue (42pts 16th)
AFC Telford (pts th) v Nuneaton Town (51pts 12th)
Altrincham (20pts 22nd) v Kidderminster Harriers (75pts 2nd)
Boston United (46pts 15th) v Gloucester City (61pts 9th)
Brackley Town (66pts 8th) v Gainsborough Trinity (34pts 20th)
Darlington (70pts 4th) v FC United of Manchester (48pts 14th)
Harrogate Town (55pts 11th) v FC Halifax Town (71pts 3rd)
Salford City (68pts 6th) v Curzon Ashton (49pts 13th)
Tamworth (60pts 10th) v Alfreton Town (40pts 18th)
Worcester City (34pts 19th) v Stockport County (68pts 7th)
From the M67 join the M60 towards Stockport.
After 7 miles, leave the M60 at Junction 4 (Chester, M6) to join the M56 Stay on the M56 for 7 miles, coming off at junction 7 (Northwich, M6) to join the A556.
The roundabout can be avoided by using the slip road.
Stay on the A556 for 5 miles to the roundabout with the M6.
Join the M6 southbound (Birmingham) avoiding the roundabout by using the slip road.
Stay on the M6 for 60 miles to junction 8 with the M5.
Join the M5.
Stay on the M5 for 48 miles to junction 10 (A4019, Cheltenham).
Stay on the A4019 for 4 miles turn left onto A435 (Portland Street) following signs for Evesham.
Go through one set of lights and then turn right at the next set onto Wellington Road.
At the mini-roundabout, turn left (exit 2 of 5) onto B4632.
Take the first right onto Whaddon Road, the club is 400 yards on the left.