Saturday sees our second consecutive trip to the suburbs of Birmingham as we go to face Moor Green (kick off 3pm). Moor Green are currently ground sharing with Solihull Borough, not at their old ground. They are currently one place and one point ahead of Celtic having played four games more. With Celtic currently five points off the play-off spots, a win against Moor Green is vital if we are to continue our climb into the hallowed top five.
With the right results, a win could propel us to 7th, still with six games in hand over Hyde, and three on Droylsden, both of whom occupy the last two spots in the play offs, and both of whom are within reach. The current top three of Stafford, Nuneaton and Northwich are currently out of reach, but a good run could well put them into reach as well.
Moor Green stand in the way of this goal, though, and have been on something of a good run of late. They have lost only one of their last six games, winning three of them. They have also lost only one of their last five home matches (against Hucknall Town), but did only win two of them. With Celtic?s away record showing no wins since wins since we beat Hyde on Boxing Day, this has to change if we are to have a chance.
Previous meetings between the two clubs do hold some promise. We have already beaten them once this season, giving us a chance of claiming our first six points off a team this season, whilst last season they were unable to beat us, drawing both of the games 2-2. The last game at their place saw two stoppage time goals, one from each side, with Andy Hayward finding the back of the net for us during a difficult period.
Moor Green have failed to score only three times this season, and only once at home, when Nuneaton visited. In their last six matches they have scored seventeen goals, conceding ten, including their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hucknall. Along with ourselves they have scored forty-nine goals this season, the sixth best in the league. The only part of their game letting them down is the number of goals that they concede, which, at fifty-two, is the fifth worst in the league. They have conceded in every home league game this season. On average, they score 1.6 goals per game (both overall and at home), whilst conceding 1.9 goals per game at home (and 1.7 overall).
Nineteen of Moor Green?s forty-nine goals have come in the last twenty minutes and this is definitely their most dangerous spell. Both sides of the half time interval are their weakest, with nine goals just before and after the break.
Gary McPhee is their top scorer at the moment, finding the net ten times this season and scoring five goals in his last five games. This puts him joint tenth in the overall goal-scorers chart. His closest rivals are Darren Middleton (one of last season?s top scorers), on eight goals, and ex-Celt Phil Trainer on seven ? joint nineteenth and twenty-fourth respectively.
Neil Prince?s goal on Tuesday night puts him on eight league goals this campaign, joint nineteenth, just behind Paul Sykes on nine league goals ? eighteenth in the goal-scorers chart. Our top scorer is obviously Lee Ellington, whose eighteen league goals put him at the top of the chart, though Danny Holland of Harrogate and John Allan of Northwich are hot on his heels.
In their recent 2-1 away win at Hednesford, Moor Green lined up as:
1. Ashley Timms
2. Phil Midworth
3. Lee Collins
4. Andy Penny
5. Richard Scott
6. Ben Petty
7. Peter Faulds
8. Darren Middleton
9. Gary McPhee
10. Dave Morrison
11. Dave Bridgewater
In Celtic?s recent 1-0 win over Gainsborough Trinity, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Steve Garvey
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince
With Celtic?s recent lack of away wins, the automated prediction algorithm has gone for a 3-2 win to Moor Green. Whilst this is understandable, Celtic need to improve their away form in the run in to the end of the season. With Northwich away as the next game the team will require a confidence boost going into it, and a win against Moor Green would do the trick. What is required is simple: To play with the conviction and desire that the team shows at home.