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Penalty sinks Celtic
Vanarama National League North
Mon, 30th August
Stalybridge Celtic01Harrogate Town
 Armstrong 77(p)
Attendance: 365DetailsIain Benson
When you are down, things do not fall for you, and with Harrogate scoring a penalty that was their sum total of shots on target, this seems to be the case.

For the majority of the game, there was only Celtic in it, Andy McWilliams putting the first of ten free kicks around the box over the bar before Lloyd Ellams fired through a crowd from the corner of the box striking the crossbar to the relief of Craig Dootson in the Harrogate goals. Greg Wilkinson put his free kick into the wall and sent the rebound wide before a great ball from Elam found Phil Marsh in a superb position. He used his strength to hold off Michael Jacklin and Craig James drawing Dootson from his line before firing low and hard an inch the wrong side of the post. Moments late and he was through again, this time Dootson making the stop. Elam got onto a poor clearance off yet another free kick, but fired over the bar, and a corner came to Ellams at the edge of the box, but his curling shot lacked the power to beat Dootson. In the move of the half, Phil Marsh forced the save of the half from Dootson, snapping off a reaction shot that Dootson saved well to his right.

Right before the interval, it looked like Celtic would pay for their squandered chances when a long diagonal ball found Ciaran Toner in a yard of space behind Tim Ryan and Steve Woods, and he nodded the cross at the back post wide.

The second half was more of the same, McWilliams putting a free kick wide of the mark, before Connor Jennings almost got his second in two games when he found the space, but Dootson pushed the ball around the post. Elam got onto the corner, but Harrogate threw bodies in the way, putting it out for another corner that Jennings headed over the bar.

Celtic continued to pass the ball around Harrogate, at times guilty of playing too much football. Marsh put yet another free kick around the box high over the bar before Liam Hardy chased a long ball over the Celtic defence into the Celtic box. With the Celtic defence chasing back Budtz ran out to meet Hardy, but the Harrogate striker knocked the ball away as the Celtic keeper slid into him, conceding a penalty, which Graeme Armstrong converted with power. New signings Eddie Stanford and Ryan Crowther made home debuts from the bench, Stanford cutting into the box and firing narrowly wide, and Crowther cutting in from the other side and also firing narrowly wide. As time began to run out, Celtic had a strong penalty shout waved away as Toner pushed Marsh over in the box, and there was still time for Tim Ryan to come up for a final free kick around the box, but his header was meat and drink to Dootson.

Celtic continue to play football on the deck and maintain a lot of possession, but a little more killer instinct would have seen one of the multitude of chances converted, as it was, Harrogate were handed a chance, and took it to take the three points.

Celtic Line-up:Jan Budtz; Glenn Rule (Graeme Law 45 mins); Andy McWilliams; Tim Ryan; Steve Woods; Jack Rea; Connor Jennings (Ryan Crowther 65 mins); Greg Wilkinson; Phil Marsh; Lloyd Ellams (Eddie Stanford 56 mins); Lee Elam
Unused Subs:Joel Bembo-Leta; Kristian Platt
Harrogate Town Line-up: Craig Dootson; Dominic Rosa; Liam Shepherd; Duncan Williams; Michael Jacklin; Craig James; James Naylor; Ciaran Toner; Graeme Armstrong (Matt Bloomer 84 mins); Liam Hardy; Aiden Savory (Wayne Phillips 72 mins)
Unused Subs: Richard Pell; Adam Nowakowski; Danny Wright