Match Report -
Dynamic Duo
By Mike Tilly

Another three points for Stalybridge but this was an uncomfortable afternoon for the Bower Boys as they made hard work of overcoming lowly Marine.

Fortunately man-of-the-match Matthew Williamson and Dominic Crookes were at their best on a day the Blues struggled to find any fluency in attack.

Celtic got off to a perfect start with Steve Pickford scoring after just 3 minutes. A long ball from Parr rebounded to Pickford off Sullivan's backside, and he rode two challenges before coolly slotting the ball under keeper Clarke from the edge of the area.

Play was scrappy for much of the half, Sullivan volleyed wildly over the bar and Marine were restricted to long-range efforts with both Lally and Gamble unable to hit the target from 25yds. Marine were beginning to have more of the play though and eventually equalised with what was to be their only attempt on target. Thompson's cross from the left was met by an unmarked Courtney 10yds from goal and his low volley to Ingham's left gave the Celtic keeper no chance.

Celtic began to exert some pressure towards the end of the half. Their only fluent move of the half saw Sullivan cross to the far post for McNeil, who unfortunately could only head wide. However Celtic restored their lead with their next cross to the far post when, in the 42nd minute, Sullivan was fouled in the corner. Bauress' free kick was met by Kevin Parr who headed powerfully across the keeper into the roof of the net.

The Blues almost made it 3-1 straight after the break as Jones broke clear of the Marine back line but Clarke pulled off a brilliant save to deny him, diving at full stretch to his left.

Marine continued to have plenty of the ball and Douglas headed wide from a corner after Gamble had seen Crookes deflect his fierce shot wide. In the 63rd minute Parr almost grabbed his second from another Bauress free-kick but his looping header was tipped over the bar by Clarke. Back came Marine but both Courtney and Randles could only head tamely wide with their next attacks.

Derek Ward replaced an out-of-sorts Sullivan for the last 20 minutes and came close to adding his name to the list of scorers when, after a slick 1-2 with Jones, he fired just over the bar.

Randles and Gamble again threatened the Celtic goal inside the last 5 minutes with low shots, though neither troubled Ingham as they drifted harmlessly wide. Stalybridge almost wrapped up in the dying seconds when Parr had his close range header blocked by Clarke. McNeil looked sure to score with the rebound but Clarke pulled off another superb point blank save.

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