On Saturday, Stalybridge Celtic have their penultimate home match when we host Warrington Town (kick off 3pm). Warrington are currently third mathematically ensured of a top-three finish and four points off top spot with seventy-nine points. They are fifteen places and forty points above Celtic. There will be a match centre and Twitter feed for this game.
Warrington have won two thirds of their games this season, losing only three times away and six times overall. They lost 1-0 away at Scarborough, 2-1 at Nantwich and 1-0 at Hednesford. With four wins on the trot, most recently 2-0 at home to Scarborough. Their most recent away game was also a win, 2-0 at Matlock. They last dropped points in their previous away game when they drew 1-1 at Stafford, the week after losing 3-2 at home to Stafford. Their last away loss was at the beginning of the year when they lost 1-0 at Scarborough. Their last five away games have been four wins and a draw. The five games between mid-October and mid-November were their worst spell, winning one, losing three and drawing once.
Warrington have not conceded a goal in their last three matches and hold the league record for the most consecutive clean sheets, keeping eight clean sheets between the end of August and the start of October, with two draws and six wins. In total they have kept sixteen clean sheets (highest in the league) with seven of them on the road. Conceding just thirty goals all season gives Warrington the best defence in the league. Fifteen of their conceded goals have come away from home at a rate of 0.8 per game. To add to this, they have the fourth best attack in the league, scoring sixty-five goals (thirty-four away) at a rate of 1.8 goals per game (1.9 away). They have failed to score in three away matches and six overall. Josh Amis is narrowly ahead in the goal scoring chart, with twelve, though Tony Gray is right behind on eleven and Jack Mackreth is not far behind either, on ten. In the two away games they have been losing at half time, they won neither.
Celtic have a remarkable record against Warrington. They have never beaten us. Even last season, Celtic beat Warrington home (2-0) and away (1-0). At home a magnificent end to the first half saw two goals, thanks to a Liam Dickinson penalty and Connor Hughes's low cross finding an unmarked Greg Wilkinson. Away, it was an own goal from form Celtic custodian, Tony McMillan, that ended the stalemate. Earlier this season, Celtic held Warrington to their only goalless draw at home this season. Warrington have only been to Bower Fold twice, both games finishing 2-0 to Celtic. In total, the two teams have met seven times in the last forty years, with Celtic winning six and drawing one.
In their last match, the 2-0 home win over Scarborough, Warrington lined up as:
1. Tony McMillan (played for Celtic in the 15/16 season)
2. Mitch Duggan
3. Adam Hughes
4. Ben Garrity
5. Mark Roberts
6. David Raven
7. Marcus Cusani
8. Robbie Evans
9. Tony Gray
10. Josh Amis
11. Jack Dunn
In the Stalybridge Celtic's last match, the 1-0 away defeat to Hednesford, Stalybridge Celtic lined up as:
1. Paddy Wharton
2. Josh Solomon-Davies
3. Gareth Roberts
4. Mark Lees
5. Chris Smalley
6. Liam Tongue
7. Scott Bakkor
8. Glenn Rule
9. Greg Wilkinson
10. Matthew Wolfenden
11. Michael Howard
Ross Dent missed the last match through suspension, and will also miss Warrington and Hyde.
A win could lift Celtic to fifteenth and all but mathematical safety. Grantham (away at Scarborough), Stafford (at home to South Shields) and Marine (away at Basford) are all within three points. Mickleover aren't playing (this is their blank Saturday), but a loss for Celtic could see Bamber Bridge (at home to Matlock) go above us on goal difference leaving Celtic perilously close to the bottom two going into the final two games. For the conspiracy theorists among you, Bamber Bridge's last game was a win, keeping their hopes alive, when they beat Hyde 2-0 in Hyde.
Mickleover can get a maximum of 44 points, but only by beating Bamber Bridge, who can then only get forty-two points. They do have a better goal difference than us, meaning that three points might not be enough. If Bamber Bridge get their maximum by wining their three remaining games, they would be on 45, meaning Mickleover would have to beat Basford in Mickleover to also go above Celtic. A draw could leave them on thirty-nine, but Celtic are nine goals better on goal-difference. Basically, the future is still in Celtic's hands, but we need to ensure we see it stays that way.
|Home win||Grantham Town||3-0||Sat 26th Jan|
|Away win||Mickleover FC||1-4||Sat 2nd Mar|
|Home defeat||Farsley Celtic||0-2||Sat 18th Aug|
|Away defeat||Scarborough Athletic||1-0||Sat 12th Jan|
|Home score||Nantwich Town||3-3||Sat 23rd Feb|
|Away score||Farsley Celtic||3-3||Sat 5th Jan|