Match Report -
Own worst enemy
By Debbie Taylor

Stalybridge showed their desire to leave the Nationwide Conference in a display that must have left the travelling Scarborough contingent rolling on the floor with laughter as Celtic lifted them out of the relegation zone and dumped themselves in it.

Celtic started with a 3-5-2 wingback formation, with Mike partnering Ayorinde for the first 45 minutes. Also making his debut was the on-loan left-back from Blackburn, Robert Woodhead. And it was the new boy's inch perfect cross that found Ayorinde. The Nigerian's flair for goals, unlocked the Scarborough defence while they were still organising, and he volleyed it past Woods from the edge of the box, despite the Scarborough keeper getting a hand to the ball.

Cue the disaster movie.

Scarborough's defence organised, especially Renninson, who blocked everything that Celtic could muster, allowing Scarborough a way back into the game. After Woodhead was left stranded by a long ball up field, it fell to Blunt in Woodhead's defensive position, with Woodhead still racing back. Blunt's cross in posed no real danger, but somehow Ged Murphy managed to produce a spectacular diving header that immediately had him listed in the villains book when he put the ball past the desperate Walker.

Scarborough seized the initiative, with Stamp having a shot from distance that skimmed harmlessly wide, and Patterson too had to shoot from distance, but couldn't get through the solid back line.

Walker quickly joined Murphy when he received a throw-in from Murphy. As Stamp closed the Celtic keeper down, he should have put it over the stand, but instead attempted to dribble past the dangerous Scarborough forward. Stamp robbed Walker of the ball, passed to Blunt, who rolled it into an empty net.

Celtic looked shocked, and only the solid back three prevented Scarborough from adding to their lead, preventing any easy access to Walker's goal.

The second half saw three Celtic changes, dropping into a more familiar 4-4-2 formation with Courtney, Peacock and Fish replacing Beesley, Mike and Walker. Scarborough, though, were more organised at the back now, and despite Celtic upping the tempo and taking the game to Scarborough the nervousness shone through. Scarborough were all ways going to crumble under such pressure, and eventually a Peacock free kick unlocked the door.

The ball whipped around the wall and rebounded off the woodwork. Courtney received the ball and drove it into the crowded penalty area. It pinged about a bit before Pickford got enough on it to divert it into the net. Celtic had pulled back an equaliser.

Instead of continuing the pressure though, Celtic sat back, and let Scarborough come to them, as though they were a goal up, instead of equal.

However, Celtic were controlling the defence well, and Scarborough's best effort was well wide of Fish's goal. At the other end, Murphy and Peacock were putting in good crosses, but Renninson was first to the ball every time. Even when half of the Scarborough defensive pairing (Shepherd) was taken from the field with a dislocated shoulder, and replaced with Hotte, Celtic still couldn't find a killer cross for Ayorinde or Courtney.

This proved costly, as Scarborough found the initiative, and Rose burst through the offside trap and ran at Fish. Fish stayed standing for as long as he could, but as he went down Rose, poked the ball ahead of him. The ball crossed the line moments before Rose swerved into and over Fish's arm (the Celtic keeper was pulling it back to try and get it out of the way). Rose went sprawling, with his head turned towards the referee. Despite the ball being out of play, the ref awarded a penalty - though did not give Fish a card. This perplexes me. The rule book states that he should have received at least a yellow for the offence - but obviously the linesman had pointed out the fact that the ball was out of play.

Nevertheless, Stamp added to his season tally putting the ball past Fish, and sending the travelling contingent into rapture.

Despite Celtic throwing everything, including Ben forward for the last few minutes, the Scarborough defence did what they had done all night, and defended well, with virtually everybody back. Adding insult to injury, when Hotte handled Pickford's shot inside the box - the referee did not give Celtic a penalty. He should have done - I doubt we would have scored.

This could well be the result that sends Celtic back into the Unibond. Ironic, because at times, they actually played well. We need results, but the way that the confidence is ebbing out of the team, these results look hard to come by.

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