Match Preview :- Vauxhall Motors - Saturday January 8th, 2005 (15:00:00)
Celtic?s next game is away, at Vauxhall Motors in Elsmere Port. The Motormen are one of only two teams that Celtic have beaten this season (though they knocked us out of the Cheshire Senior Cup), and we will need to beat them again in this basement battle if we are to have any chance of survival this season. The next few games will be crucial, with or without a manager.

Celtic are coming into the game off the back of seven straight losses, and without a win away from home this season. Vauxhall are coming into it on the back of a virtually unbeaten home record, with only Droylsden in the first Vauxhall home game of the season beating them. They?ve held some of the best teams in the league such as Redditch, Worcester, Nuneaton and Harrogate to draws, and beaten some class acts too, such as Altrincham and Hucknall. Make no bones about it this will be a tough game: a team who has never won away against a team who has hardly lost at home this season.

They are currently nine points and four places clear of us, making this a real six-pointer. If Celtic lose again, they will be twelve points clear, and leave Celtic in real trouble.

That said, Vauxhall don?t score all that many goals (what with their goal-machine leaving to join Southport). They are relying on Darren Wright (five goals) and Peter Cuminskey (four goals) to grab them their points, and they?re doing all right. Most of their goals this season have come in the first half, with thirteen of the twenty-two goals scored in this period. The second half, especially the hour mark, is their weak period, with over half of their goals conceded here. They do score more than they concede at home though, with a ratio of 1.1 to 0.8 goals per game. They also have Karl O?Donnell who is their lead scorer across all competitions (eight goals).

Celtic have conceded in all bar one game this season (away at Droylsden), and over the past seven games have conceded twenty goals. In that same period we have scored eight. This is why we have lost them all. Our away goals scored to conceded ratio is not good either, scoring 0.7 and conceding 1.8 goals per game. Andy Hayward is our top scorer with five goals (ten goals over all competitions), with Paul Sykes and Nathan Wharton in tied second place with three apiece.

Jimmy Olsen and Karl O?Donnell are both back from suspension (after picking up 5 yellow cards apiece), and will probably be in their line up. Mike Tomlinson is their only injury, and will not be playing.

Their last line up away at Runcorn was:
1. Tim Dittmer
2. Lee Woodyatt
3. Wayne McDermott
4. James Glendenning
5. Carl Spellman
6. Phil Brazier
7. Carl Nesbitt
8. Robbie Lawton
9. Darren Wright
10. Steve Porter
11. Peter Cuminskey

Celtic?s injury problems extend right throughout the team, though the players are starting to come back. Gregg Pearce has made a number of bench appearances, as has Craig Dootson, though neither is likely to feature. Phil Eastwood may return to the bench. Scott Bonsall and Kevin Parr are both back in the frame, and the latest signings of Lincoln Adams and Andy Lord-Kangana are also available for selection.

Celtic?s last line up at home to Southport was:
1. Phil Priestley
2. Lincoln Adams
3. Andy Lord-Kangana
4. Terry Bowker
5. Barrie Keeling
6. Paul Sykes
7. Scott Bonsall
8. Kevin Parr
9. Andy Hayward
10. Phil Hadland
11. Nathan Wharton

The importance of this match cannot be stressed enough. Celtic desperately need a win and we need a win in this match. This is the crux of Celtic?s season here and now. I feel that if we win, we may pull off the great escape, a draw wouldn?t be a disaster, but a loss will leave a mountain too big to climb.
Distance: 52
Time: 50 minutes

Leave the M67 and join the M60 towards Stockport.
Leave the M60 at Junction 4 (Chester and M56).
After 30 miles on the M56 join the M53 towards Birkenhead.
After 6 miles leave the M53 at junction 5 (Birkenhead and A41) At the roundabout at the bottom of the slip road turn left (exit 1 of 4) to join the A41 (New Chester Road).
Take the next left at the traffic lights by the Four Chimneys Pub onto Hooton Green.
Follow Hooton Green to the end, and turn left onto Hooton Lane.
Follow Hooton Lane to the end, and turn right, and the club will be a few hundred yards on the right.

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