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Match Report -
Altrincham give a defensive lesson
By Iain Benson
Celtic struggled to find a way through a very solid Altrincham defence, that barely made a mistake all game, whilst two of Celtic's mistakes were punished at the other end.

Both teams were passing and pressing well across the park, making good use of the space, and both defences were coping well with forays, so much so that neither keeper had a save to make in the opening twenty minutes.

Altrincham broke the dead lock with a ball through the defence for Denham to chase, Sykes turned but couldn't catch the former Celtic man, and one-on-one with Phillips, Denham slotted it home. Seven minutes later, and it was an identical situation, this time Lyttle the chasing player. Lyttle could have added a third just before the break when a low cross from Lanton into the box landed at his feet, but he put it wide.

Meechan, another former Celtic player, had to leave the field injured after a fair challenge by debutant Jones, which left Jones requiring treatment and a substitution.

The second half remained quite equal and Celtic would have been right back in it had Wood been a bit more match sharp, put through by Briggs, he was one-on-one with Coates, but the Altrincham keeper stood up well, and eventually Wood just ran into the keeper, Williams was waiting for the square ball that never came, and Celtic remained two behind. Williams showed some nice skill to get to the by line and put in a cross for Ellington, but Coates cut it out well, and on the hour mark Celtic were desperately unlucky when Wood left Coates exposed to turn and shoot in the box, only for McGregor on the line to block and clear.

Altrincham added icing to their cake with a final third goal ten minutes from time, Phillips making an initial save, and Wooliscroft a block on the follow up, however, as Wooliscroft's half clearance fell to Morris on the edge of the box, the Altrincham substitute volleyed it straight back into the net through a crowd.

Though there may have been a three goal gulf, the two teams were fairly even, with Altrincham's defence the clear winners. There's no cause for worry, and plenty of cause for optimism with the new signings Briggs and Williams fitting in nicely, and playing well.

Celtic line up from: Phillips, Wolliscroft, Smart, Jones, Barwick, Sykes, Wilkinson, Platt, Hall, Briggs, Williams, Burke, Ellington, Wood, Keeling, McGuire, Cullingworth, Richardson, O'Conner.

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