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Match Preview :- Stafford Rangers - Tuesday December 14th, 2004 (19:45:00)
Tuesday night sees Celtic travel the other way down the M6 to take on Stafford Rangers in Celtic?s latest league encounter (kick off 7:45pm). Stafford hadn?t won for four games, until Saturday when they despatched Bradford Park Avenue 1-0.

Prior to that there were home draws with Barrow and Southport, and away losses to Redditch and Hucknall. Stafford haven?t had the season they intended this season, being something of a draw specialist team. They have drawn 9 of their 19 games, and only won 5. Whilst they have never won away from home, they have never lost at home. Make no mistake, this is yet another in a long line of extremely tough matches for Celtic coming on the back of 5 straight away losses.

You?d have to go back to 1993 for the last time that Celtic beat Stafford, with a 1-0 home victory, and in the last 4 meetings, home and away, they have beaten us every time. We haven?t won at Marston Road in at least 15 years and the best we have managed are two draws.

Craig Wilding is Rangers? top scorer with 6, and he scored the winner in the last match against Bradford. At home, they score an average of 1.4 goals per game, and concede only 0.7, as opposed to Celtic conceding 1.6 and scoring 0.6 goals per game. Stafford?s mean defence is the joint best in the league, conceding only 19 goals all season, level with Southport, whom we play soon. They score equally in both halves, and start the game quick, with 3 goals scored in the opening 5 minutes. They concede mainly in the first half, and mostly in the run up to the half time whistle.

Considering the meanness of the defence, they have only kept 6 clean sheets all season, and their defence can be breached with Nuneaton getting 4 past them, and Bradford 3.

Stafford have no injury or suspension worries ahead of the game, and will probably only make two changes to the team that beat Bradford on Saturday, playing James Phoenix and Craig Wilding, as their introduction was the turning point for the Bradford game. On-loan keeper Stuart Tomlinson (from Crewe Alexandra) should retain his place after a good game.
1. Stuart Tomlinson
2. Alan Dodd
3. Richard Beale
4. Craig McAughtrie
5. Wayne Daniel
6. Craig Lovatt
7. Lee Downes
8. Rob Heath
9. Neil Grayson
10. Craig Wilding
11. James Phoenix

Celtic are going to have to treat this game as a cup final and attempt to break three records here ? Stafford?s season long unbeaten at home run, Celtic?s season long unable to win away and Celtic?s long history of not winning at Marston Road. Picking the side will be a headache with Phil Eastwood, Craig Dootson, Dean Calcutt, Danny Caldecott, Chris Denham, Scott Bonsall and Kev Parr all unlikely to play, and Gregg Pearce at most making the bench. Given the paucity of fit strikers, a 5-4-1 formation would look to be the order of the day, and hopefully Dave German will get a game to make a solid back line.
1. Phil Priestley
2. Dave German
3. Tony Whealing
4. Lee Connor
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Terry Bowker
7. Paul Sykes
8. Paul Weller
9. Andy Hayward
10. Nathan Wharton
11. Steve Smith

Places on the bench for the rest of the fit: so Ben Smith, Gregg Pearce, Darren Bowman, Adam Jones and Phil Robinson.

Celtic desperately need the three points. Everything is stacked against them. If there was ever a time for a fairy story ? it was now.
P Pts
11 Hucknall Town 20 29
12 Hinckley United 17 28
13 Stafford Rangers 20 27
14 Lancaster City 20 27
15 Gainsborough Trinity 20 27
Tue 14 Dec 2004Stalybridge Celtic3-2
Sat 11 Dec 2004Bradford Park Avenue1-0
Tue 07 Dec 2004Redditch United0-1
Sat 04 Dec 2004Southport1-1
Tue 23 Nov 2004Barrow2-2
Goal Scorers
Grayson, Neil6
Wilding, Craig6
Heath, Rob4
Gibson, Robin3
McAughtrie, Craig3
Previous Meetings
Saturday February 08, 2020
Tuesday October 15, 2019
Saturday December 08, 2018
Saturday September 01, 2018
Saturday February 24, 2018
Home win Kettering Town3-0Tue 17th Aug
Away win Hinckley United0-2Sat 23rd Oct
Home defeat Never lost at home
Away defeat Bradford Park Avenue3-1Sat 4th Sep
Home score Barrow2-2Tue 23rd Nov
Away score Nuneaton Town4-3Tue 24th Aug
Games Since... Overall Home Away
Last Scored 112
Last Conceded 221
Last Won 113
Last Drew 221
Distance: 68
Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

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 38 miles to junction 14 with the A34 (Stafford).
At the roundabout at the bottom of the slip road, turn left exit 1 of 5 onto the A34 (signposted Uttoxeter).
After 3/4 of a mile there is a roundabout - go straight across (exit 2 of 4) to join the A513 (Beaconside).
After 1/2 a mile, take the third right (immediate next right after the first left onto Marston Lane) onto Common Road.
The club is one mile down Common Road opposite the Audi garage.

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