On the plus side, the Stalybridge Celtic attack appears to be fixed with four goals scored against Farsley. On the down side, the defence now appears to be broken, conceding five.
For the first twenty minutes, Celtic were by far the better team, totally dominant and scored with the opening move. Sebastien Julien received the ball from Liam Dickinson with his back to goal. Theo Bailey-Jones arrived in the box in time to receive the lay-off, his shot perhaps miscued somewhat sending Graeme McKibbin completely the wrong way to open the scoring.
It was clear that Celtic were after more, with only a fantastic save from Aidan Chippendale's curling shot tipped around the post by McKibbin. Farsley couldn't clear the corner, the ball coming back to Dickinson who held the ball up well, pulled it back for Bailey-Jones who squared across for Alex Honeyball, still up from the corner, who picked his spot and placed the ball beyond McKibbin.
Celtic were playing with a freedom not seen for a long time, with excellent play across the park. Chippendale's cross to the back post was almost inch perfect, Oli Roberts arriving at speed couldn't connect properly, skewing his shot wide before Bailey-Jones got his second and Celtic's third with some quick thinking. Julien's attack was thwarted by McKibbin, the spilled ball falling to Bailey-Jones who slid in the goal that should have killed off Farsley.
However, the Celtic defence went to sleep after Lee Neville had missed his tackle, allowing Adam Priestley to get into the clear and deliver a through ball for Ben Atkinson who fired in a good finish past the out-flung hand of Joe Slinn. Worse was to come just before half time when Isaac Baldwin found an inch of space beyond Danny Morton to whip in a cross to the near post. Although heavily marked, Celtic's perennial thorn in the side, James Walshaw, connected with a flicked header that looped over Slinn and into the far corner.
It looked for the first five minutes of the second half that Celtic had put the fifteen minute lapse behind them. Julien was brought down right on the edge when through on goal, there were calls for Kurt Harris to get dismissed, but a yellow and a free kick was the result, but Liam Dickinson's inch perfect curled low shot went beyond McKibbin's fingertips into the bottom corner to give Celtic a two goal cushion.
Celtic should have gone on to close the game down, but ten minutes later, Celtic were unable to clear a ball into the box that bounced around heads until Isaac Baldwin got the telling touch to lift his header past Slinn.
Celtic looked a little at sea after Farsley's third goal and the defence stood off, allowing Ben Atkinson to run along the by-line and pick out an unmarked Walshaw to score his second and the Farsley equaliser.
Worse was to come. A free kick routine completely undid the Celtic defence, the low ball to the near post turned in with the simplest of finishes by Ben Atkinson.
There was still fifteen minutes to go, but though changes were made, Farsley did what Celtic couldn't and closed the game down, the closes Celtic came was in stoppage time with an overhead kick from Dickinson that sailed wide.
The goals show that Celtic have found a winning formula up front with creativity and a will to score, now work has to begin on stopping the lapses of concentration at the back.
|7||Priestley, Adam||> 88|
|9||Walshaw, James||> 90|
|11||Walker, Paul||> 77|
|12||Cartman, Nathan||< 90|
|14||Marshall, Richard||< 88|
|15||Parkin, Luke||< 77|