Match Preview :- Stafford Rangers - Saturday October 25th, 2008 (3:00PM)
Next up at Bower Fold are Stafford Rangers. Relegated from the Conference National last season, they have adapted the best of the three, and are three points clear of Droylsden and Farsley. Stafford currently sit seventh in the table, two places and one point behind Celtic on twenty-one points, having played a game more.

Stafford have a superb defence this season, conceding just eight goals all season, and hold the current league record for consecutive games without conceding at five. They played over 600 minutes of football without the opposition getting a goal, in the process beating Droylsden, Gateshead and Blyth 1-0, with only the Blyth game at home. In the same run, they were held 0-0 at home by King’s Lynn and Harrogate. At home, this season, they have conceded four, but three of those were Southport, with Tamworth the only other team to find the net against them. However, they have only scored two goals, with their remaining seven coming on the road.

Stafford have failed to score in five games, and have kept eight clean sheets (three away). The only team that they have scored more than one against was Workington (away). This means that they score an average of 1.1 goals per game away (0.6 overall) and concede a miserly 0.6 goals per game. Their top scorer this season is David McNiven who has four, with Tom Thorley nestled behind on three. With only four different players having scored for Stafford, it’s no surprise that they have only scored nine goals so far.

Our previous meetings with Stafford have mainly gone in Stafford’s favour. In our last five meetings at Stafford we have drawn two and lost three, our most recent visit in 2005 seeing us lose 1-0. In the same season (the season Stafford were promoted), we also lost at home, 3-2. Our last win over Stafford was at Bower Fold in April 2005, when we won 1-0 after they had beaten us 3-2 in the Potteries.

Whilst Stafford do not have any suspension worries, their second top scorer, Tom Thorley was on loan from Stoke, and that ended with the Hucknall game, and he has now been recalled. Steve Bull, the manager of Stafford, has moved to fill the gap with a seven-day approach for Jake Moult of Leek Town, but it is unlikely that this will be completed in time for him to play at Bower Fold on Saturday. They have, however, managed to extend the loan period for winger Jimmy Phillips (also from Stoke), and take Mark Grocott (striker) on loan from Stoke. In their last match, the 0-0 draw at home to Hucknall, Stafford lined up as:
1. Tim Sandercombe
2. James Cullingworth
3. Jonathan Loukes
4. Tom Thorley
5. Stuart Pierpoint
6. Bobby Wilson
7. Carl Palmer
8. Tom Ingram
9. David McNiven
10. Dave MacPherson
11. Jimmy Phillips

Celtic will be without Ashley Woolliscroft who starts the first of his three match ban. Tom Sharpe’s loan from Nottingham Forest ended on Saturday, but moves have been afoot all week to try and extend this to three months, the maximum allowed for a short term loan. Paul Sykes will also be out with the broken arm suffered in Celtic’s last match away at Fleetwood. Coming in will be Richard Battersby, a central defender from Altrincham (via Radcliffe Borough). In our last match, the 2-1 win away at Fleetwood, Celtic lined up as:
1. Paul Phillips
2. Ashley Woolliscroft
3. Rhys Meynell
4. Tom Sharpe
5. Terry Barwick
6. Andy Smart
7. Steve Torpey
8. Keith Briggs
9. Lee Ellington
10. Matty Barlow
11. Chris Williams

The automated prediction algorithm has suggested a 3-2 score line in Stafford’s favour for this match, but this is unlikely, as Stafford have not scored three in a match at all this season, and have a defence too mean to concede two very often. It will be a very tough match. Celtic’s home form has been disappointing this season, with only one league win, three draws and two losses. Although we are currently fifth in the table, with a chance to go third, depending on other results, our home form needs to improve, and we will need to find ways to break down teams like Stafford who will come to defend and snatch. We do have the second most prolific front line in the league, with only Tamworth having scored more, and they’ve played an extra game.

Other games this Saturday (restricted due to some clubs involvement in the FA Cup):
Farsley v Gainsborough
Hucknall v Hyde
Solihull v Harrogate
Southport v Redditch
Vauxhall v Workington
Table
P Pts
6 Hinckley United 13 22
7 Farsley Celtic 14 21
8 Stafford Rangers 14 21
9 Gainsborough Trinity 14 19
10 Droylsden 11 18
Results
Sat 25 Oct 2008Stalybridge Celtic0-2
Tue 21 Oct 2008Hucknall Town0-0
Sat 18 Oct 2008Hyde United1-1
Sat 04 Oct 2008Harrogate Town0-0
Wed 24 Sep 2008Gateshead1-0
Goal Scorers
McNiven, David4
Thorley, Tom3
Phillips, Jimmy1
McPherson, David1
Previous Meetings
Saturday February 08, 2020
1
1
Tuesday October 15, 2019
0
3
Saturday December 08, 2018
2
2
Saturday September 01, 2018
2
0
Saturday February 24, 2018
2
0
Records
Home win Blyth Spartans1-0Sat 13th Sep
Away win Gateshead0-1Wed 24th Sep
Home defeat Southport0-3Sat 30th Aug
Away defeat Never lost away
Home score Southport0-3Sat 30th Aug
Away score Workington2-2Sat 16th Aug
Games Since... Overall Home Away
Last Scored 231
Last Conceded 251
Last Won 432
Last Drew 251
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