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Match Report -
Veil across the Leigh disaster
By Keith Trudgeon

The fog which descended on Bower Fold cast a spell on Stalybridge Celtic as they crumbled to high-flying Leigh. It was a game that Celtic needed to win but they were outclassed by a team who, on this performance, look to have real title credentials.

The Celtic cause wasn't helped with some disastrous defending - Leigh even missed a penalty to give the Blues a chance. This was only the second time Celtic have lost a league game at Bower Fold since Phil Wilson's re-appointment as manager in October 1998 and it was arguably the worst performance witnessed since he has been at the helm.

Yet Celtic could still have won. David Felgate proved why many people call him the best keeper in the league with a series of breathtaking saves. He denied Steele, Mason, Bauress and Pickford twice, in quick succession at the end of the first half and kept out efforts from Filson and Steele in the second half.

The opening goal came in the 22nd minute when Eddie Johnston fouled Brian Ross for Ward's first penalty, which he put away with ease. The second penalty came courtesy of a clumsy challenge by Mark Ogley but this time, Ward's effort cannoned back off the upright and away to safety.

Celtic then broke away to equalise. A header from Johnston was fisted off the line by Mick Wallis but as the referee was pointing to the spot and reaching for his pocket an assistant was flagging. Eventually a goal was given with the officials deciding that the ball had crossed the line before Wallis handled.

That should have been the platform for a victory but when Johnston lost possession to Ricky Harris, Ross sped away and put the ball beyond Ingham for Leigh's second.

Celtic lost their spirit and Leigh scored a third through Ridings' close range thunderbolt to put the three points in the bag and send them soaring to the top of the table.

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