Tuesday night sees Celtic face Gainsborough Trinity (kick off 7:45pm) in a league clash where a win could lift us to eighth. Gainsborough are currently eight points and four places behind Celtic in sixteenth having played three games more. Both teams drew at the weekend, Gainsborough 2-2 at home to Droylsden and Celtic 1-1 away at Hinckley.
That draw means Gainsborough have now won only one game in the last eleven, a 2-0 win at home to Worksop at the start of January. Their last away win was away at Droylsden in Mid-November when they won 2-1. They have won a grand total of seven games all season, five of them at home. One of those home wins was against us, they beat us 1-0 back in October. Over the past twenty years they have managed to beat us twice, both times at home. At Bower Fold, however, Celtic have won eight of the eleven encounters, and drawn the other three, including Gainsborough?s last visit to the ?Fold.
It is draws that Gainsborough specialise in. We?ve drawn seven of our last twelve visits to the Northholme (and won three of the others). This season, Gainsborough have continued this speciality and have drawn nine games. Indeed, whilst they may only have one win in the last ten games, they only have three losses. Six draws and one win have given them nine points from a possible thirty, but they are obviously a hard team to get a win against. They lost their last away match, at Barrow (1-3), but drew the preceding three (Hednesford, Moor Green and Worksop).
Whilst they have not taken six points of anybody yet this season, they have taken four from Droylsden and Worksop, with Hyde and Worcester taking all six points off them. Having beaten us once already this season, Trinity will be looking to remedy that, and it will be a hard match. Hopefully, though, we will have more luck in front of goal than we did that night.
Gainsborough have scored just eleven goals away from home this season (thirty-one overall), whilst they have conceded twenty-four away from home (forty-six overall). This gives them an away average of 0.8 goals per game scored (1.1 overall), and 1.3 goals conceded (1.6 overall). They have kept no clean sheets away from home, and only three all season, whilst they have failed to score in four away games (seven overall). Their top scorer so far this season is Ryan Mallon, whose opening goal against Droylsden was his sixth of the campaign, all coming in the last ten games as he finds his way in front of goal.
Whether he is the replacement for Lee Ellington is another matter. That goal did push him onto the top goal-scorers page, as joint thirty-third, the same as Neil Prince. They are missing Lee Ellington, though, whose eighteen league goals for us this season have propelled him to the top of the goal-scorers chart. Paul Sykes is his closest competitor for league goals, with nine that have him in joint seventeenth.
Just over half of Trinity?s goals have come in the second half of their games this season, though they do have a five goal spike on the half hour. Nearly two thirds of their conceding is also done in the second half with twelve goals going in during a ten minute spell around the hour mark.
There is an ex-Celt in Gainsborough?s squad, a certain Alex Higgins, and he played in Gainsborough?s 2-2 draw at home to Droylsden.
1. Jamie Holmshaw
2. Ben Purkiss
3. Adam Burley
4. Nick Ellis
5. Richard Pell
6. Alex Higgins
7. Wes Parker
8. Danny Wood
9. Danny Steadman
10. Ryan Mallon
11. Matty Caudwell
Celtic drew their last match also, 1-1 away at Hinckley. In that match, we lined up as:
1. Paul Pettinger
2. Grant Black
3. Scott Maxfield
4. Mark Barnard
5. Mark Haran
6. Chris Price
7. Steve Garvey
8. Paul Sykes
9. Lee Ellington
10. Jody Banim
11. Neil Prince
Lee Ellington didn?t manage to get onto the score sheet when we last played Gainsborough, so I?m sure he?ll want to do so this time around. We have won three and drawn one of our last five home matches. We have scored twelve goals in five matches, and conceded six (including our first home clean sheet). Taking these two bits of information into account, the automated prediction algorithm has gone for a 3-2 win for Celtic.
Another dominating performance like our last two home matches against Leigh and Alfreton will do Celtic the power of good. With a full quota of matches going on this week, Celtic need the three points to stay in sight of the play-off spots, and ensure that when we do get to play our games in hand we can maximum use of them.