Frickley more than held their own against promotion chaser's Stalybridge Celtic in a match which started off slowly in the first half but had numerous chances at both ends during the second period with both goalkeepers pulling off good saves to keep the game scoreless. Frickley were boosted beforehand by the return of captain Steve Price with Dean Jones and Mark Ogley also being fit enough to play alongside Leroy Chambers and Lee Stratford, the players brought in to turn the Latic's season around.
The early exchanges saw Frickley enjoy a fair amount of possession against the second placed side but it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal on 9 minutes. Parr knocked down a cross from the left to Ward who hit a thunderous shot from about 16 yards which Mark Wilkinson did well to dive to his right and turn around the post.
Latics' first effort came on 19 minutes when Chris Hurst saw his 30 yard effort sail over the bar and shortly afterwards Rob Hanby picked the ball up on half way before having a low 25 yard shot well saved by Ingham. A minute later Hanby went close again when Hurst headed down Price's free-kick but Hanby's angled shot went over the bar from 5 yards. Frickley were starting to get on top by now though the efforts on goal were tame, with Lee Stratford's 25 yard free-kick easily saved by Ingham on his near post just one example.
However, on 40 minutes Stratford came close to scoring at the other end for his old club when Sullivan beat Price for pace down the left and sent over a harmless cross which Stratford tried to chest back to Wilkinson but he managed to chest it just inches side of the right hand post with Wilkinson nowhere near!
The second half saw Andy Gregory replace Alex Willgrass on the right and the home side went on the offensive almost immediately with Leroy Chambers feeding Ian Edge down the left. He ran at the last defender before checking back to return the ball to Chambers who put a 20 yard shot just wide of the left hand post. On 52 minutes Frickley had claims for a penalty turned down as Duane Beckett swung the ball into the box with Ingham coming to collect but he spilled it with the loose ball falling to the onrushing Edge who went down under Ingham's challenge but the referee was having none of it. Eight minutes later Edge got clear down the left and crossed to Chambers who was foiled by a combination of a defender and goalkeeper but Stalybridge slowly hauled themselves back into the game.
On 61 minutes Steve Jones shot narrowly wide of the left hand post after the Blues defence had failed to clear from a free-kick and a few minutes later Ogley (another old Celt) almost let in McNeil with a poor back pass but Price came to the rescue.
Wilkinson was then forced to claw a Parr header out from under the bar following a Bauress free-kick as Celtic forced a period of pressure. And a minute later a ball fell just over the head of Price to Steve Jones whose goalbound shot was blocked by Ogley. Celtic were beginning to show what they were capable of, but was it too late?
Chances then followed at both ends as both teams pushed for the three points which were so vital for different reasons. On 73 minutes Frickley seemed certain to score but three efforts were cleared off the line as Hanby, twice, and Dean Jones were both denied by goal line clearances from Filson and Crookes, which resulted in a corner.
For the last five minutes, Frickley saw the play centred around their box
Wilkinson brilliantly denied Filson as he headed goalwards from a corner, and again Filson missed the opportunity to give Celtic all three points, heading over the bar following a Jones flick. Parr dragged a 15 yard shot just wide after a knock back.
Then, right at the death in the last minute Hanby played in Chambers but his shot from 18 yards, under pressure from a Locke, was brilliantly touched round the post by Ingham and from the corner Hurst volleyed over the bar.
In the end a thoroughly deserved point in an entertaining game which could have gone either way.