Match Report -
Champions!
By Mike Tilly

Gary Bauress became only the second Stalybridge captain to lift the Cheshire Senior Cup in the competition's 113 year history as Celtic demolished County with a devastating first half performance.

The rout started as early as the 10th minute. Stuart Locke launched one of his trademark throw-ins goalwards, Filson flicked it on and at the far post McNeil looped a header over Stockport keeper Budgen. The ball rebounded off the underside of the bar and Kevin Parr found the corner of the net from close range. Seconds later Parr almost doubled Celtic's advantage. McNeil and Ward combined on the right, Ward crossed deep to the far post and Parr's header just cleared the angle.

Steve Jones made it 2-0 on 13 minutes with a stunning shot from 25yds after more good work from McNeil, who won the ball on the half-way line and played Jones into space. Two minutes later Parr grabbed his second when Stockport again failed to deal with a cross. Filson's header was blocked but the ball still found its way to Parr 6yds out, who manage to swivel and poke the ball home.

County were under severe pressure as Stalybridge pinned them back and a fourth goal was imminent. It finally came in the 24th minute after once again McNeil had won the ball in the left corner. He managed to find Scott who skipped a challenge and whipped over a cross which once again found Parr, 12yds out, and his perfectly placed header inside the far post completed a superb hat-trick.

Gary Bauress almost added his name to the score-sheet with a free kick from 25yds that narrowly cleared the bar, via a deflection, but Celtic hit their fifth goal of the night from the resulting corner. The cross fell to Filson at the far post, his shot was blocked on the line and after a goalmouth melee in which Parr, McNeil and Jones all had shots cleared off the line, Jones finally fired the ball through the bodies strewn across the goalmouth. Celtic were rampant.

Stockport were forced to replace their goalkeeper, Budgen, who was injured during the fifth goal, with outfield player Lawson. How he must have feared for the remaining 55 minutes!

The second half started where the first left off with Jones twice coming close to completing his hat-trick. In the 47th minute he combined with Pickford on the right, his header looping just wide of the post. Two minutes later he tried a cross-shot which Lawson did well to push over the bar.

Stockport began to come into the game slightly and Maxwell should have pulled a goal back when the ball fell to his feet ten yards from goal but he blazed his shot high and wide.

Scott, Jones and McNeil played some lovely one-touch football on the left wing before McNeil showed great vision to find Ward streaking unmarked down the right. He took it on to the edge of the area but snatched at the shot and Lawson was relieved to see the ball fly wide of his right post.

County had most of the play for the last 20mins but Ingham was rarely troubled and dealt with almost every cross comfortably. The only player to force him into action was Stockport substitute Peter Wild who almost scored with a 20yd volley which Ingham just managed to get his fingertips to and turn the ball over. With only 2 minutes remaining Wild finally scored a consolation goal, once again showing great volleying technique as he got on the end of a long ball from Johnson, and sent a looping strike over Ingham into the top corner of the net.

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