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Stalybridge Celtic 1gifHarriers 0

Date: 11-04-17 gif Venue: Bower Fold gif att: 427 gif away fans: 125 est
Harriers fall at another hurdle

gif Report: Phil Lench
The Harriers more or less conceded the title to Fylde tonight when they lost by the only goal at relegation threatened Stalybridge Celtic.  In a game that was being played at the third time of asking due to the poor condition of the Bower Fold pitch it was the home side that adapted the better and it was now easy to see why they also beat Fylde themselves on Saturday.  The pitch is not one for a team that likes to play their football on the ground but then again it's the same for both sides and we had also experienced similar conditions at Gloucester three days before and won.

The win for Celtic, now managed by the former Harriers chief Steve Burr, gives them a better but still slender chance of avoiding the drop and ourselves now needing to do our utmost to finish in second place.

We started with just the one change to Saturday with Sam Austin replacing Tyrell Waite out wide.  It would be unfair to ask why Sam didn't do too well tonight considering that the pitch wouldn't have been the best platform for his skills but then again it would have been the same for Waite and maybe it would be better to dispense with wingers in games like this.

We started the game at a whirlwind pace and could have gone three up within the first ten minutes when Daniel Nti placed his first shot wide then minutes later spooned the ball over the bar from just a yard or two out.  In between those misses Keith Lowe also headed one over the bar.

With Celtic on the back foot we then eased off a little, understandably given the frenetic start, and gave them a sight of goal but James Roberts sent his shot wide.  The game cooled off for a while then until thirty minutes in when Ryan Croasdales shot was saved easily by the Celtic keeper Grant Shenton and then Jordan Tunnicliffe went very close with a header, from James McQuilkins corner ball, that went just the wrong side of the post.

With first half time ticking down Stalybridge came close to opening their account as Adam Mather set himself up to shoot on the angle of the box and sent a wicked ball in that took the Harrierskeeper Sam Hornby by surprise but thankfully also went just wide of his upright.
  HT: 0 - 0
As is usual with us we have one good forty five minutes and one bad forty five minutes.  This forty five was the bad version.

The former Harrier Andy Bishop looped a header over the bar and then James Roberts hopeful shot went out for a corner after Tunnicliffe put his foot in the way.  The ball was played out to Adam mather who then struck from twenty five yards away from the goal but Hornby saved it well.  The pitch was now taking its toll on us and we were resorting to suicidal back passes that were doing neither ourselves or Sam Hornby any favours.

We weren't doing ourselves any favours either when Daniel Nti brought down Danny Wisdom in full flight in an area of the pitch that normally wouldn't cause any problems some thirty yards from goal.  Another former Red, Danny Pilkington, took the free kick and curled it goalwards where it landed a few yards in front of Hornby then skewed off at an angle into the net.  A cruel way to concede the goal but Hornby should really have come out to meet the ball rather than wait on his line for it to meet him.

We began to send on substitutes in an effort to get back into the game and Emmanuel Sonupè came on in place of Nti for his debut after signing on loan for us three weeks ago from Northampton and then a few minutes later Josh Ezewele replaced Jared Hodgkiss at full back although the reasoning behind that one was lost on many people.  Sonupè had an early chance to 'strut his stuff' when he glanced a header at the keeper and then trying a cheeky ball over his head a few minutes later.

With the countdown to ninety minutes underway Andre Brown, on earlier for Darryl Knights, got himself in a great position to shoot but Grant Shenton tipped his blistering shot over the bar and then a McQuilkin corner found the head of Joe Ironside and again the keeper saved well to give the home side all three points and us left wondering why we had twice lost both of our games in hand after also loosing at Brackley a few weeks back.

We now have a short rest until Friday when we go again with the visit of Boston Utd to Aggborough and hopefully get back to winning ways.
  FT: 1 - 0

 Goal for Stalybridge: Pilkington 62

Talk about the game here  
Latest table and stats here  

Stalybridge Celtic  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Shenton     Hornby  
Morton     Hodgkiss gif  
Wisdom     Francis-Angol  
Hughes     Croasdale  
Mather     Lowe  
Chalmers     Tunnicliffe  
Dunbar     Nti gif  
Regan   McQuilkin  
Bishop     Ironside  
Roberts gif     Knights gif  
Pilkington gif gif     Austin  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
McKnight     Waite  
Bakare gif - 90     Sonupè gif - 69  
Wilkins gif - 82     Williams  
Ahmadi     Ezewele gif - 74  
Deacon     A Brown gif - 52  

Mr P Marsden

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