Match Report -
Celtic exit Cheshire Senior Cup despite playing well
By Iain Benson
Celtic gave away two early goals, and despite playing some excellent football were unable to take advantage of any mistakes made by the Altrincham back line, with the visitors riding their luck on more than one occasion.

Meechan forced Phillips into an excellent early save, but the ball fell to Johnson who smashed the ball home with the Celtic defence scrambling. Ten minutes later and Altrincham had doubled their lead, when Danylyk took advantage as Celtic were completely unable to clear their lines, the ball falling to the Altrincham man who fired home through a crowd.

Celtic were playing some very attractive football, but were not getting any kind of luck in front of goal, and when Battersby?s low cross came to the on-rushing Barlow, the Celtic striker was unlucky, with Smith getting just enough of a foot on the ball on the line to lift the ball over the bar, the corner fell between two Altrincham players, who somehow scrambled it clear. Battersby tried himself with a thunderous shot as he cut in from the wing, but the ball cleared the bar, as did Woolliscroft?s effort as he interchanged with Battersby before unleashing a good effort. Barlow tried a half volley from the edge of the box as time was running out in the first half, but put the ball well wide of the mark.

Celtic started the second half brightly, and a thundering run from Briggs ended with a good shot, but the ball zipped wide, whilst Smart?s cross rapidly turned into a shot with Ralph back-peddling in the Altrincham goals, and was thankful to see the ball clear the angle. Torpey showed off some tricks to earn some space at the edge of the box, but a block by Lawton denied him at the expense of a corner that again Altrincham cleared more by luck than judgement. Just before the hour, Ralph pulled off his first save of the night when Torpey?s left foot drive looked destined for the bottom corner, but somehow Ralph got down to it. The rebound could have gone to anybody, but again, it fell to a striped shirt.

With Celtic clearly playing some good stuff, there were some excellent moves on show, but the final ball into the box was met with determined defending from the visitors, forcing Celtic to try for the half chances, with Joynes lifting the ball too high under pressure. Briggs went on another thundering run, this time, his shot ricocheting off a defender and Briggs?s knee to sail just over the bar, and leave Briggs in pain. As time started to run out, it was still all Celtic, but Barlow missed the target twice, whilst Phillips was called upon a couple of times to deny Altrincham a late goal.

It was a very good performance from Celtic, and against a less stern defence would have seen a hatful of goals.

1Ralph, Andy  
2Waterfall, Luke  
3Smith, Jamie  
4Lane, Chris  
5Lawton, Robbie  
6Owen, Val  > 70
7Danylyk, Anthony  
8Peyton, Warren  
9Meechan, Alex  
10Johnson, Dale  > 81
11Elam, Lee  > 36
12Senior, Chris  < 70
14Little, Colin  < 81
15McGregor, Mark  
16Doughty, Matt  < 36
17Young, Greg  
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