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Match Report -
Celtic Tea Party
By Mike Brierley

Stalybridge Celtic kicked off the 2016/2017 season with an opening day win and whilst the game itself may not have been a classic, win it Celtic did.

Prior to kick off, much speculation ensued as to what the starting line up would be, certainly one could make a case for any number of combinations, purely based on pre season alone.?

The first half was a cagey affair from both sides, nothing to choose between either of them and by managing to score first, Hynes? perfect through ball allowing Owens to coolly slot the ball home opening the seasons account, Celtic grabbed a crucial piece of momentum that was to swing the game in their favour.?

The bizarre incident of the first half surrounded the was it or wasn't it a penalty saga. There seemed little doubt that Ryan did commit a foul but the ensuing melee, in which the referee appeared to change his mind and then change it back again, seemed to baffle just abut everybody in the ground. This, understandably, prompted some sort of ensuing argument, which did prove to be a little downfall later in the game. Credit to McMillan for reading the penalty and guessing the right way. ?

With the first half being relatively even, Celtic having taken the lead and saved a penalty aside, it seemed as thought the gods may just be smiling on them, luck on side and all needed being able to see out the game in the second half, Boston having carried little or no threat up until this point.?

Then came the tricky bit.?

Chalmers, having been booked in the penalty row, received a needless second yellow, making the task at hand all the more harder. That said, although Boston tried what they could, wave and wave of attack after attack, their actual finishing was really rather poor. ?

That's not to degenerate though from the effort being put in by the Celtic rearguard, Hughes and Ryan, ably assisted by Platt dropping back, were doing a grand job of snuffing out the threat, throwing their bodies here, there and everywhere. On the one occasion that they were well and truly beaten, McMillan threw himself across goal to produce an absolutely outstanding save. ?

The final whistle was greeted with both joy and relief by the nine away fans, two kitmen plus officials. Three points secured and onto the next game.? A man of the match would be difficult to choose. All of the new signings played a part and the centre backs were solid but it's got to be McMillan, penalty save and flying dive, did win the three points.?

You can't fault any win on the opening day of a season, it's actually 2011 since we last achieved it, yet to take all three points when playing with ten men for just short of half the match is an excellent achievement. At the end of the day, three points and the win is all that matters.?

Hopefully the win will aid confidence going into the opening two home games, it shouldn't really do anything else. As for the performance, we?ve already seen glimpses of the two crucial elements that may just be needed to secure points this season, clinical in attack and resolute in defence. ?

A great start. Well done all.

1Dibble, Christian  
2Thomas, KalernYellow Card 
3Price, Ollie  > 63
4Hilliard, Lewis  
5Maguire, Joe  
6Pepe-Ngoma, Herve  
7Rollins, Jay  
8Chippendale, Callum  > 86
9Colley, Lamin  
10Marshall, Marcus  > 65
11St Juste, JasonYellow Card 
14Fairhurst, Waide  < 65
15Roberts, Grant  < 63
16Burgess, Joe  
17Adams, Liam  < 86
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