Match Preview :- Alfreton Town - Saturday November 11th, 2006 (3:00PM)
On Saturday we welcome Alfreton Town for a Conference North fixture (kick off 3pm) in what is rapidly becoming a massively important game. Alfreton are one of only five teams below Celtic in the league. This is a real six-pointer of a game, with a win putting some water between us and the relegation zone, and a loss leaving us right on the brink.

Alfreton have not won away from the Impact Arena this season, and will be looking to change that when they visit. They have lost four of their away games this season, and drawn four. One of those draws was at Droylsden, so they do have ability. Their last away match was at Farsley Celtic, and they drew that one too. Even at home, Alfreton are not having the best of seasons, with only two wins, and another four draws. Their wins at home are against Lancaster and Moor Green, and there was a very creditable draw against Kettering.

Alfreton?s last visit to the Fold saw them come away empty handed after a 3-0 defeat after an earlier 0-0 draw at their place, though the season before (when Celtic were under Dave Miller), they beat us both home and away, beating us 3-2 at home. The season before that, it was honours even with a 3-1 Alfreton win at the Impact Arena, and another 3-0 win for Celtic at home.

Most of Alfreton?s fifteen goals this season have come in the last twenty minutes, when they have scored eight, whilst they?ve conceded a quarter of their conceded nineteen goals around half time, and another seven in the last twenty minutes. On average they score 0.7 goals away from home (1.1 overall), whilst conceding 1.8 goals away from home (1.4 overall). They have kept one clean sheet on the road (three overall), and failed to score four times whilst travelling (five times overall).

Their leading goal-scorers are Andy Tiday and Emeka Nwadike with two apiece. Tiday?s two away goals are a full third of all of Alfreton?s away goals this season. Central defender Gary Sucharewicz also has two, but he was released this week.

Alfreton recently signed defenders Tommy Hannigan on loan from Notts County, and Dean Winder on a permanent move from Hucknall Town. Both players were dropped straight into Alfreton?s last match away at Farsley. With Mark Turner coming off during the Farlsey match with a pulled groin, and Ryan Clarke and ex-Celt Mark Barnard both missing through injury, Alfreton will be at bare bones on Saturday. In the Farsley match, they lined up as:
1. Dale Roberts
2. Emeka Nwadike
3. Anton Brown
4. Tommy Hannigan
5. Mark Turner
6. Dean Winder
7. Gary Mills
8. Marcus Ebdon
9. Andy Tiday
10. Mark Rawle
11. Ashley Burbeary

Celtic went out of the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday evening at the hands of a determined Witton side in a game that was there for the taking. With Celtic not getting hold of the game until the last quarter of an hour the same mistake cannot be made on Saturday and Celtic must take the initiative early. The team against Witton Albion had to be reshaped due to the rules about loan players and the fact that Neil Prince and Steve Smith were both cup tied. In addition Celtic were without Mark Haran and Paul Pettinger through injury, plus James Turley and Andy Parton were both out on loan. In that match we lined up as:
1. Nick Buxton
2. Ashley Winn
3. Jamie Kay
4. Barrie Keeling
5. Paul Sykes
6. Kevin Parr
7. Ben Smith
8. Anton Lally
9. Lee Ellington
10. Mark Hume
11. Lee Morris

Alfreton are undergoing re-organisation at the moment, but they are still very much beatable, and Celtic need to win. With the Farsley game coming on Wednesday next week, Celtic need six points to get our season back on track ahead of tricky away ties at Hinckley (current league leaders) and Gainsborough (in the FA Trophy). A couple of wins is what this team needs to restore confidence in their own ability. The automated prediction algorithm is certainly backing them, with a 3-2 win for Celtic forecast.
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