Stalybridge Celtic slumped to a narrow defeat at the hands of Bradford Park Avenue in their penultimate game of the season.
Officially needing two points to guarantee survival but knowing that in reality just one would probably be enough, given the varying permutations of goal difference and potential results elsewhere, it was a confident aura that greeted the game following recent results and performances.
Expectations of hope though so turned into faces of worry and anguish as the visitors were able to take all three points home and leave Celtic facing an agonising final day of the season as they keep their eyes peeled not only on proceedings at Bower Fold but also on results elsewhere.
The only goal of the game came from a penalty midway through the first half. A perhaps seemingly unnecessary challenge on Chilaka by Ross Etheridge allowed Colbeck, undoubtedly the star player on the field with his mazy runs and exceptional ball skills, the chance to stroke home the resultant spot kick.
Although Bradford Park Avenue spurned further chances to make the game safe, Celtic did also have a number of chances, through Chris Simm and Jamie Allen, to score themselves on what was an off night for all of a blue persuasion.
The sense that things wouldn’t go right on the night came right at the death as Matty Hughes goalbound header was superbly saved by Danby and there's no doubt that Bradford Park Avenue were well worth the victory on the night. Indeed, the scoreline should have, in truth, probably been greater than it actually was.
However, whilst this may dent a little bit of confidence ahead of the big game ahead and has made things more anxious than they could have been, Celtic have it well within themselves to get the necessary result that will ensure survival.
Liam Watson and Dominic Morley should be commended for their work at Celtic. From relegation certainties to survival probabilities is a turnaround of Peter Wragg and John Reed proportions, perhaps even greater, given the relative times scales.
With them at the helm and all pulling in the same direction, together the future can be bright.
|4||Lever, Chris||> 68|
|9||Chilaka, Chib||> 87|
|10||Colley, Lamin||> 71|
|12||Barraclough, Brad||< 71|
|14||Boothman, Steve||< 87|
|17||Patterson, Sam||< 68|