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Match Preview :- Northwich Victoria - Tuesday November 15th, 2005 (19:45:00)
Tuesday night sees a distraction from the league when we travel across Cheshire to Northwich Victoria for the quarter final of the Cheshire Senior Cup (kick off 7:45pm). Entry to the game will be ?7.50 for adults, and ?4.50 for concessions (no extra cost for the stands), a reduced rate, though the ?1 entry to the car-park remains in force.

We have played Northwich once already this season, and are one of the few teams to give them a scare. Hucknall Town beat them recently, the only team to do so, and they have had one other draw apart from the opening game at Bower Fold, at home to Nuneaton. The loss at Nuneaton ended ten straight league wins, which is their best run of results for many a year. In all competitions, they went on a fourteen game winning streak, before Hucknall stalled the runaway league leaders, and allowed Stafford to surge to the top.

Johnny Allan returned to the top of the league goal-scorer?s chart, with a brace that allowed Northwich to return to winning ways at Lancaster, and the Vics are hoping that they have stumbled, rather than fallen. In Johnny Allan and Paul Brayson Northwich have a potent strike force that has scored twenty-five league goals between them, and thirty-four in all competitions. Vics score an average of 2.8 goals per game at home, whilst conceding only 0.8 goals per game. They have kept only three clean sheets, but have conceded only one goal in seven matches, and only two teams have put three past their defence, Hucknall and us.

They have scored virtually equally across the two halves, with eight in the last few minutes of the first half, and nine in the last ten minutes of a match, so concentration is required right up to the whistle. They have only conceded five goals at home this season, with Nuneaton getting two of those goals, so they are going to be a tough nut to crack. Couple this with Northwich being one of only two teams to score in every match that they have played this season (the other is Stafford), and Celtic will be in for a torrid time if they do not produce a good performance.

That said, with this cup being a low priority compared to the FA Cup (for Northwich at least), Trophy and League, both teams will undoubtedly take the opportunity to rest key players, but both Brayson and Allan played in the previous round and Celtic?s squad isn?t really big enough to rest too many players, so there will be plenty of familiar faces on both teams.

Celtic?s history against Northwich has mainly been during our two stints in the Conference National, and it does not make for pretty reading. At Northwich, we have won twice in the league, and we beat them the last time we played them in the Cheshire Senior Cup, with that stunning half volley from Ben Smith sealing the win. Otherwise, Northwich have beaten us four times, and we have drawn once. They also have a good record against us at Bower Fold, taking fourteen points from twenty-one.

In Northwich?s last game, a win at Lancaster City, they lined up as:
1. Kristian Rogers
2. Steve Payne
3. Ben Chapman
4. Peter Handyside
5. Kieran Charnock
6. Michael Carr
7. Richard Battersby
8. Stuart Elliott
9. John Allan
10. Paul Brayson
11. Michael Byrne

Celtic?s last game, the 4-1 defeat away at Kettering Town, saw us line up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Mark Barnard
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Tom Baker
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince

Celtic are going to have to put their last two defeats out of their minds as they go into this game. Though the Cheshire Senior Cup is seen as a distraction from the tasks at hand, it is guaranteed to be competitive and will give the players a great run out. Occasionally, as well, it throws up remarkable games, like the previous round when Celtic demolished Cheadle Town 7-1. A scoreline like that one is very unlikely against Northwich (the automated prediction algorithm has gone for 3-2 to Vics), but a good game looks to be on the cards if the opening game of the season was anything to go by.
Distance: 32
Time: 45 minutes

Continue around the M60, to junction 4 (M56).
Join the M56.
Stay on the M56 for eight miles leaving junction 7 (M6, A556).
The roundabout may be avoided by using the slip road to turn left onto the A556, towards Northwich and the M6.
Join the A559 (Northwich Road) towards Northwich.
Stay on the A556 for 4 1/2 miles to the roundabout with the M6.
Go straight across the roundabout to stay on the A556.
After 2 3/4 miles, you will reach a large triangular junction.
Bear right, following signs for Wincham onto the A559 (Manchester Road).
After 1/2 a mile there is a crossroads.
Turn right to stay on the A559 (Hall Lane).
After 3/4 a mile there is a crossroads, turn left onto Wincham Lane, and take the next left (after 480 yards) onto Wincham Avenue.
After 450 yards, there is a roundabout, proceed straight across onto Drill Field Way, and the stadium is straight ahead.

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