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Match Preview :- Stafford Rangers - Saturday April 23rd, 2005 (15:00:00)
Celtic entertain Stafford Rangers on Saturday in a must win game. Any other result will see Celtic with a mountain to climb in their remaining two games. Just to make it difficult, it has been twelve years since Celtic last beat Stafford, with the ?Boro recording victories in their last five games over us.

Rangers are currently sitting in tenth in the table, and with only one other game left for them, they cannot reach the play-offs. They are seventeen points ahead of Celtic, ten places higher in the table. They have been around this position most of the season, never quite making it into the play-offs. In their last ten games, they have won only twice, and drawn four. Their two wins came both away from home to Moor Green and Kettering Town. Their losses have come to play-off contenders Droylsden, Nuneaton, Altrincham and Hucknall, which shows that they are a very difficult team to beat, and the teams that do beat them have to show something extra.

This is down to the fact that they have the third best defence in the league. However, in the last ten games, despite keeping three clean sheets, they have conceded fifteen goals, including a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Droylsden. They have scored ten goals in the same period, despite failing to score in four games.

So far this season, Stafford have taken six points off Kettering and Moor Green only, but will be looking to add Celtic to their list of six point hauls. Altrincham, Hucknall and Nuneaton have all taken six points off Stafford.

Their last victory came away at Moor Green, and Chris Smith scored his first league goal this season to take that victory. The club?s top two scorers, Neil Grayson (eleven) and Craig Wilding (ten) both haven?t scored since the 3-3 draw away at Runcorn on Easter Monday, Wilding closed the gap on his contender for the Stafford Rangers? golden boot by getting two of the goals in that game, and both will be looking to get back on track with their goal scoring against Celtic.

A third of the goals that Stafford have conceded have come in the last twenty minutes of the first half, whilst scoring wise, they are quick off the mark with five in the first five minutes. They?ve also got nine in the last five minutes as well, so they keep going for the full ninety minutes. Most of those last minute goals came from Neil Grayson.

Stafford are without midfielder Jamie Phoenix, through long term injury, and lined up in their win against Moor Green as:

1. Joe Anyon
2. Alan Dodd
3. Dennis Pearce
4. Chris Smith
5. Craig McAughtrie
6. Craig Lovatt
7. Nathan Talbott
8. Lee Downes
9. Wayne Daniel
10. Craig Wilding
11. Danny Edwards

Gregg Pearce is still out of contention (knee) as is Chris Denham (leg). More recent injuries to Scott Bonsall, Grant Black, Paul Shepherd and Nathan Wharton will have to be evaluated ahead of the game. Celtic lined up in the loss against Altrincham as:

1. Craig Dootson
2. Grant Black
3. Danny Caldecott
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Paul Sykes
6. Paul Shepherd
7. Steve Smith
8. Scott Willis
9. Andy Parton
10. Aron Wilford
11. Nathan Wharton

To say that this is a massive game is an understatement. Anything other than a win could see Celtic effectively relegated. Runcorn are away at Kettering, and the homeless team have shown remarkable resilience in those teams that should beat them, coming away with some surprising victories. If Runcorn win, and Celtic lose, the gap will be five points, with Runcorn then only needing a draw at Lancaster on the last day of the season to put Celtic down; hence the need for a win against Stafford. With Stafford?s season now effectively over a gritty determined performance from Celtic could get us the three points we so desperately need.
P Pts
9 Worksop Town 41 57
10 Hucknall Town 39 56
11 Stafford Rangers 41 56
12 Hinckley United 41 56
13 Gainsborough Trinity 41 54
Sat 23 Apr 2005Stalybridge Celtic0-1
Tue 19 Apr 2005Solihull Moors1-0
Sat 16 Apr 2005Droylsden0-4
Sat 09 Apr 2005Worcester City0-0
Sat 02 Apr 2005Lancaster City2-2
Goal Scorers
Grayson, Neil11
Wilding, Craig10
Gibson, Robin7
Heath, Rob6
McAughtrie, Craig5
Previous Meetings
Saturday February 08, 2020
Tuesday October 15, 2019
Saturday December 08, 2018
Saturday September 01, 2018
Saturday February 24, 2018
Home win Worksop Town4-0Sat 22nd Jan
Away win Hinckley United0-2Sat 23rd Oct
Home defeat Nuneaton Town2-3Sat 26th Mar
Away defeat Droylsden4-0Sat 16th Apr
Home score Nuneaton Town2-3Sat 26th Mar
Away score Nuneaton Town4-3Tue 24th Aug
Games Since... Overall Home Away
Last Scored 121
Last Conceded 222
Last Won 151
Last Drew 222
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