Match Preview :- Droylsden - Saturday December 17th, 2005 (3:00PM)
Droylsden visit Bower Fold again on Saturday, with a 3pm kick off, this time in the Trophy. Droylsden no longer have a game in hand over Celtic, and after losing 3-2 at home to Workington on Monday night, they remain one place and two points behind Celtic.

The last cup meeting between the two clubs was five years ago, almost to the day (it was the 12th of December 2000), when Droylsden got two late penalties to beat us in the Unibond League cup 3-2. We did go onto win the President?s cup because of this, though, which is some consolation.

Droylsden have yet to register a win in December, with their last win being a 3-1 win over Grantham Town in the FA Trophy at the end of November. Their last match, as mentioned above, was the 3-2 Workington defeat. Droylsden were three goals down with quarter of an hour to go, but did manage to pull two goals back. According to the Droylsden web-site several key players were out injured, or not being risked so that they would be available for Saturday?s Trophy clash.

Prior to that Trophy win over Grantham, the Bloods have to look back to the start of November to more wins, when they beat Mossley in the Manchester Senior Cup and Stafford at home in the league. Since August, wins have been hard to come by for our Tameside neighbours, and after an unbeaten August, they have registered only two other wins, giving them just fifteen points in the league from a possible forty-two. They have still maintained their record of scoring in all bar one game this season, and have kept clean sheets against Alfreton, Vauxhall and Leigh RMI (the bottom three teams), plus Grantham in the Trophy. Indeed, their wins this season have (with the exception of Stafford) all come from the bottom half of the table or a lower league, with only three away wins to their name.

Their last away win was against Mossley, a game they won 4-1 (where Chris Denham got a brace). Before that, they have not won away since August, after a 2-1 win over Worcester City.

On average, they score 1.2 goals per game away from home (in all competitions), conceding 1.4. The goals for column looks strongest in the last twenty minutes of a match, where half of their goals are scored, plus a spike just before half time when they?ve bagged five. In the goals against stakes, they are very tight in the first half, but have a tendency to open the flood gates in the second, with twenty-one of their twenty-nine conceded goals coming in this period. Rapley and Talbot are leading the goal-table in all competitions for the Bloods with seven and six apiece.

Across all competitions, Celtic?s top scorer is by far and away Lee Ellington with sixteen goals, though Neil Prince can still catch him from his position on ten. Celtic really don?t have that many problems scoring this season, with a 7-0 demolition of Cheadle in the Cheshire Senior Cup, and a 5-1 hammering of Hyde in the Trophy (both away). Celtic need to continue their top-five in the league attack if they are to win in this match though.

Droylsden may well be without several key players for the upcoming match, depending on how serious their injury list actually is. Chris Denham is cup tied for an appearance at Ashton, and will not be making an appearance in the rematch. Against Workington, they lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Jimmy Williams
3. Danny Warner
4. Neil Hall
5. Carl Ruffer
6. Steve Brodiie
7. Ian Fitzpatrick
8. Gareth Morris
9. Terry Fearns
10. Robbie Talbot
11. Chris Denham

Celtic?s energetic fullback Darren Hockenhull may well be able to make an appearance in the Trophy match, though Jody Banim definitely won?t, which will disappoint him. Against Droylsden in Celtic?s last match (it was 1-1), we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Barrie Keeling
3. Mark Barnard
4. Farrell Kilbane
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Steve Garvey
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Scott Maxfield
11. Neil Prince

There may well be changes in the line up ahead of the game, but with the automated prediction algorithm going for a 2-1 win for Celtic, there?s no reason why a good performance wouldn?t see Celtic progress into the next round of the Trophy. Another poor performance may well see yet another match against Droylsden, this time on Monday.
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