Match Report -
Honours even
By Iain Benson

With both teams having chances to win, a draw was a result neither team could complain about. Even the moments of controversy evened out in weather more suited for Tom Daley than football.

Celtic started like a house on fire, Corey Gregory and Gregory Wilkinson combining superbly in the middle of the park to send Jack Laird speeding through on Stuart Coburn. For a second it looked like Laird would be closed down before he could get his shot off, but fifty seconds into the match, his thunderbolt speared into the top corner.

Celtic tried to play the possession game, and were mostly successful, but Altrincham worked hard and won the ball back, however it took twenty minutes before Duncan Watmore picked up the ball in the centre circle, and saw the Celtic defence part before him giving him a free run straight into the box to place his shot passed Alex Cairns who could do nothing.

Both sides had further chances in the half, Tom Buckley finding space, but scooting his shot too weakly through the crowd to trouble Coburn, whilst Greg Wilkinsonís sublime free kick had Coburn spilling the ball at Gregoryís feet, but Gianluca Havern was on hand to push the ball out for a corner. The free kick had come from a moment of controversy as Carl Rodgers took out Mitchell Austin who was in full flight when the high, two footed challenge right on the edge of the box. With such a dangerous challenge, many officials wouldnít have hesitated to how a straight red, itís location on the pitch and Rodgersís last man status were additional facts that appeared to sway the decision down to a yellow.

Celtic almost started the second half off as they had the first, with Mitchell Austin curling a twenty-five yard shot to the top corner that had Coburn flying to palm it away, whilst Wilkinson curled a free kick narrowly wide and at the other end Damian Reeves got his first sniff of chance but found Cairns on sparkling form. From the corner, taken short, the ball was put into the box and Watmore was there again to put Altrincham ahead.

A second moment of controversy saw Altrincham slighted as Kristian Platt appeared to pull back Watmore as he sped along the by-line towards the goal, a penalty? Quite possibly. To make matters worse, Celtic moved the ball quickly and decisively up the field, Jamie Mullan taking on Scott Leather and firing in an inch perfect cross that was met by Jack Laird who planted his header past Coburn.

Mullan almost got one of his own moments later but Coburn was well placed, and Wilkinsonís second chance at a free kick saw another excellent save from Coburn, whilst Cairns was called into action by a distance effort from Jordan Sinnott. The last chance of the match fell in stoppage time to substitute Jordan Barrow firing from distance and not really testing Coburn, leaving the score-line at two apiece.

1Coburn, Stuart  
2Densmore, ShaunYellow Card 
3Leather, ScottYellow Card 
4Rodgers, CarlYellow Card 
5Havern, Gianluca  
6Hall, Danny  
7Sinnott, Jordan  
8Moult, Jake  > 65
9Watmore, Duncan  
10Reeves, Damian  
11Lawrie, JamesYellow Card > 77
12Lacey, Patrick  
14Doughty, Matt  
15Richman, Simon  < 65
16Brooke, Ryan  < 77
17Reid, Adam  
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