On Saturday Celtic travel to Radcliffe Borough in the FA Cup (kick off 3pm). Radcliffe are flying at the moment, with five straight wins to start the season, putting them top of the EvoStik Division One West, level on points with Colne, but ahead on goal difference. There will be a match centre and Twitter feed for this game.
It was a very different story last season, when they finished third from bottom having won twelve league games all season. Four games into the league, and they are already a third of the way to beating that tally. They are not the only team in the league with four straight league wins, Colne too are flying, and Mossley are close behind on three wins and a draw. After starting with a 2-0 win away at Widnes, they have followed this up with a 4-1 home win over Simon Haworth’s former team Clitheroe, a 5-0 thrashing of Trafford in Trafford and, most recently, a 3-0 home win over Colwyn Bay. They have also seen of Prestwich Heys in the FA Cup already, setting themselves up for the match on Saturday against us.
With fourteen goals in four games (seven at home), they’re scoring at a rate of 3.5 goals per game, whilst with one goal conceded, they are conceding at a rate of 0.5 goals per game at home and 0.25 per game overall. One clean sheet at home, and two away, their defence is performing well so far this season. Up front, Ben Wharton is definitely the danger man with five league goals (and seven overall) so far, scoring in every match.
Celtic have won the last five encounters between the two teams, mainly in friendlies, with our last competitive match in the Manchester Cup in 2016, when Celtic won 3-1 at home with goals from Alex Johnson, Dale Wright and Aidan Chippendale cancelling out Steve Foster’s early goal. In the league, Radcliffe have won both of the games since 2001, beating us 2-0 at Bower Fold, and 3-2 in Radcliffe. In cup competitions, however, Celtic have also knocked Radcliffe out of the Unibond Cup back in 2001, when we won 2-0.
Radcliffe have a couple of familiar faces in their line-up, with Prince Haywood in midfield and Ollie Martin goal. In Radcliffe’s last match, the 3-0 home win over Colwyn Bay, they lined up as:
1. Ollie Martin
2. Matty Williams
3. Tommy Lent
4. Scott Metcalfe
5. Liam Wood
6. Rick Smith
7. Tunde Owolabi
8. Prince Haywood
9. Ben Wharton
10. George West
11. Elliot Rokka
In Celtic’s last match, the 1-0 home win over Workington, Celtic lined up as:
1. Jake Turner
2. Liam Tongue
3. Scott Wilson
4. Glenn Rule
5. Danny Brady
6. Michael Clarke
7. Matthew Wolfenden
8. Tom Brown
9. Scott Bakkor
10. John Marsden
11. Ross Dent
Radcliffe have not been passed this stage of the competition for seven years, but have had an exceptional start to their season. This will be a tricky match. Tom Brown missed Celtic’s last match with an injury, but Simon otherwise has a full squad to choose from.
Join the M60 heading towards Oldham.
Stay on the M60 using the slip road at the junction with the M66 and M62.
Stay on the M60 for a further 2 miles to junction 17 (Prestwich).
At the roundabout at the end of the slip road, turn right (exit 3 of 4) onto the A56 (Bury New Road).
Almost immediately the road forks.
Bear left, onto the A665 (Higher Lane).
After three quarters of a mile, you will reach a junction with Radcliffe New Road.
Turn left, to stay on the A665.
Stay on the A665 to Radcliffe town-centre (about 2 miles).
You will see the Turf Hotel on the left, directly opposite Unsworth Street, turn right into Unsworth street.
The ground is on the left, just past Colshaw Close.