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Match Report -
Sycho Send-Off Stalemate
By Iain Benson
The return of former Bower Fold legend Paul Sykes with his new club saw the game end goalless, but the visitors could have had a hat-full with better finishing and a lesser keeper than Paul Phillips between the sticks.

Both Aaron Hardy and former Celt, James Dean forced good stops out of Phillips, the former a distance effort with plenty of power and the second a superb reaction save. Off a corner, there was a mad scramble that saw another excellent reaction save from Phillips, but a handball from a Celtic player resulted in a penalty that Dean blazed high over the bar. Other chances fell for Halifax, with a sensational tip over from Phillips to deny Scott Fielding.

Celtic did have chances, in the first half Michael Carr forced Phil Senior into a good stop, which Senior improved upon by denying Matty Barlow's follow-up effort from inches away. In the second half, possibly the best effort was a Richard Battersby cross that Connor Jenning's instinctively volleyed towards goal, missing by scant inches.

If missing one penalty wasn't bad enough, Paul Sykes carried the ball the full length of the pitch only to be felled just inside the box by Phillips, and this time, it was Danny Lowe who blazed high over the bar.

Halifax missed numerous excellent chances, with Dean blazing over not long after the first penalty, when it was easier to score, and with the post and crossbar rescuing Celtic three times. All in all, Halifax looked a good strong side who are going to do very well this season.

Celtic squad from: Paul Phillips, Richard Battersby, Andy Smart, Dave Winfield, Keith Briggs, Martin McIntosh, Joe O'Neil, Matty Barlow, Dave Hankin, Warren Peyton, Michael Carr, Barrie Keeling, Terry Barwick, Michael Bowler, Connor Jennings, Greg Wilkinson, Graham Kay, Michael Fish, Jamie Tandy, Ryan Moss.

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