Match Report -
Referee!
By Debbie Taylor

Frickley are a big and powerful side, and their tactics played to these strengths. Consequently, there was a lot for the referee to do in this game. From my point of view, the referee had a bigger impact on the game than he should have done, and probably lost the respect of the players early on.

In the opening minute Hatto was beaten by Caldicott and vented his frustration by pulling the youngster headfirst into the hoardings at the end of the pitch, which the referee was quite happy to ignore, thus giving Hatto the impression he could get away with anything.

Celtic switched the play around the park leaving Frickley running in circles, eventually culminating in the first chance of the game, which fell to German, just outside the box, but on his wrong foot, he sliced the ball wide of the mark.

Caldicott then provided a superb long cross to Mayers who had evaded his marker Marquis to drift to the back post. He nodded the ball back to Eastwood who saw Parr in an excellent position. Unfortunately, Parr's shot didn't live up to his positional ability, and it scythed wide. It didn't take long before Potts won a corner off O'Brien that was cleared, but at the result of a head injury on Jackson, thus stopping play. The referee played a drop ball, which landed on his foot, which he tried to jerk out of the way, comically passing the ball to Frickley's captain, Woolford. Frickley tried to get the ball up field quickly whilst Parr berated the referee. Bowker sent the ball back the other way, and Celtic launched an attack again, culminating in an Eastwood cracker of a shot that struck the hand of Jackson and deflected to Hooper, who couldn't control his first time shot, sending it wide.

Potts won a corner, moments later when Richards blocked his cross, in a foretaste of things to come, Hatto headed behind his own net, narrowly wide of the post for a second corner. Parr flicked a header into the danger area, but Samways was alert, and plucked it off Mayers' head.

Hatto may have started the game unsportingly, but when the referee ignored the clash of heads between Bowker and Caldicott in the 'D', Hatto in a good shooting position elected to put the ball out of play. Obviously one head injury stops play, while two cancel each other out!

The ball was sent all the way down to Samways, whose long punt resulted in Parr and Pearce colliding for the ball. It fell kindly for Jackson, and there were a lot of targets for him in the penalty area. Jackson successfully lobbed an advancing Dootson with a looping lob, which Parr nodded, into his own net. To save the Celtic captain's blushes, the goal was given to Jackson.

The referee had a tough choice to make moments later. Russell who had been diving and collapsing for the opening twenty minutes raced one on one with Dootson. Bowker made up the ground well and slid in from the side. Russell saw the player coming in and knocked the ball ahead of himself so that Bowker took Russell instead of the ball. As this happened two feet from the penalty area Russell threw himself forward and rolled several times to almost end up in the six-yard box. The referee could have awarded a penalty, but knew where the foul had occurred. Unfortunately, he also knew that Bowker had been the last defender, and sent him off. It was still a free kick in a dangerous position, something Frickley obviously do not get very often. Richards ran over the ball, the wall didn't budge; Gowen ran over the ball, the wall didn't budge. Suddenly Hatto realised that he was the only Frickley player left near the ball and tried to curl it from a standing position, but got no curl at all on the ball and sent it out for a goal kick.

A man down, a goal down, Celtic suddenly started playing with spirit. Potts was pulled down evading Hatto near the corner flag. Marquis, thus ensuring Frickley got a goal kick, headed his free kick behind! The corner came when Caldicott's cross was plainly headed behind by Jackson. O'Brien blocked Hooper's shot or a second corner.

Frickley won another dangerous free kick when Pearce took all ball no player and Russell fell over anyway. Fortunately, the referee spotted Jackson shoving Parr in the box to get to the cross and gave the free kick. Russell took advantage of a stumble by Pearce to have a shot on goal, but it was a woeful shot right at Dootson, and not very pacy.

Hatto finally discovered the limits of the referee's patience when Caldicott skinned him on the wing, and Hatto cynically brought him down. Yellow card for Hatto. From the free kick, Eastwood headed it back from the brink to Potts who tried to head it over the keeper. Potts is five foot nothing, Samways is six foot four, and Samways caught the header, but only just.

Celtic got another chance when Hatto gave Mayers a big hug, thus conceding the free kick. The ball fell to Eastwood who was stretching and sent the ball wide.

However, moments later, Potts did a stupendous reverse lob over the top of the defence leaving two of them stranded. Jackson had tracked Mayers, but somehow Mayers eluded him (there were calls for handball - surprisingly ignored) and Mayers slotted it past the keeper just before the stroke of half time. There was still time for Celtic to waste a corner and for Eastwood to get booked for evading Richards' lunge!

Sharpe the Frickley manager threw on a striker for a midfielder at half time, Bernard for the largely invisible Hancock. However, this couldn't stop Eastwood lobbing the ball from the restart to Potts entering the penalty area, one on one with Samways, the defence still in the dressing room. Samways came out, Potts curled it past him, and Celtic took the lead. From kick off to goal - ten seconds.

Mayers won a corner when Parr's through header fell kindly for him, the shot was ferocious, and Woolford had to launch himself in front of it to deflect it wide. The corner was cleared, but Celtic were supercharged. Potts kept in a hopeless ball, twisted O'Brien until he slipped and fell then swished in a super cross. Wharton nodded it into the path of Mayers, a flick up to tee himself, and Mayers turned and volleyed, just over the bar.

Potts and Hatto kicked the same ball - Potts conceded a foul! Hatto took the free kick, very powerful around the wall, Dootson blocked and gathered on the second attempt.

A free kick for Celtic came when Woolford upended Potts as he ran into the box (no card) Potts took the free kick himself, lobbing it over the defence to Mayers, who teed up Eastwood, his shot was rising from the edge of the box, and just went over the bar. Parr was soon right back at them, making himself some space outside the box. Woolford blocked as far as Wharton, who tried to lob the out of position Samways - a good save kept the score-line down.

Eastwood won a corner off Richards when nothing else was on. The corner fell to Wharton, who gave it back to Potts. Potts took it around Richards and had a shot, another good save kept the difference at one goal.

Frickley should have been taking advantage of their man advantage, but somehow their chances were few and far between. One such chance came when Morris did all the hard work but when he got his shooting chance, it was woeful and high. They won a couple of corners on the trot, first from German then from Pearce, Dootson cleared the first, Mayers the second. Frickley used up all of their subs bringing on Lindley and Robinson, and the subs combined to give the visitors a great chance: Robinson's cross was flicked onto Bernard by Lindley, but Bernard missed the open goal! Bernard got another chance moments later, when Lindley's cross to the back post had him unmarked, but it was weak, and an easy catch for Dootson. From a third corner, the goal scorer turned villain for Athletic. German, cut out Bernard's cross for a corner, and Dootson's flap was only as far as Richards, whose shot was blocked by Jackson sending it wide for a goal kick.

Eastwood won a corner of Richards holding the ball up in the corner. Richards conceded a second one blocking the Potts corner. From this corner, Wharton was caught offside, and failed to give the ball back - so the referee booked him: a mistake to prove costly.

When Frickley piled forward for another corner with minutes on the clock, the sheer number of bodies in the box made it awkward to clear and shoot, somehow it fell to Jackson who shot through the crowd only to hit the post, and Pearce to clear virtually off the line. Lindley quickly crossed in the throw, but when Dootson's flap saw the ball land kindly for Morris it should have been two a piece, but he hit the side netting in an open goal.

Bowman and Denham were brought on for the tiring Hooper and Potts. Almost immediately, Robinson seriously fouled Bowman in the box with a knee in the small of Bowman's back. Rather than give a penalty, the referee played advantage because Bowman had managed to get the ball to Denham before loosing a vertebra. Robinson hadn't finished, having got away with the first foul; he slid dangerously through Denham, who'd already laid the ball off to Mayers. For this, Robinson got sent off. For the last five minutes, the teams would be level, or so it seemed.

Celtic then tried to hold the ball in the corners. From one such trick, Wharton won a throw that came to Eastwood. Woolford blocked Eastwood's shot - it fell to Mayers. Richards blocked Mayers' shot, it came back to Eastwood, Woolford blocked again!

After some more corner action, Frickley thought that they had got it clear and were racing up field. Wharton tackled Hatto in the centre circle to win the ball, and sent Denham on a run into clear water with only Richards and the keeper to beat. Richards was beaten by sheer pace, and the keeper was beaten by sheer brilliance!

Then there was something happening. Hatto had reacted badly to Wharton's perfectly good tackle, and Wharton had retaliated. There was a kafuffle in the centre circle, and Denham wondered if his goal had been disallowed. No, the goal stood, but Wharton got sent off for a second bookable offence, and it looked like Hatto got a yellow card as well, as Hatto had also been carded, it must have been somebody else, for he remained on the field. It was difficult to make out, as eyes had been drawn by Denham's goal.

In the dying moments of the game, there was still time for more controversy. Gowen blatantly hacked Denham down in the box, no penalty, just a corner that Celtic held up by the corner flag.

Celtic ended this game with only nine men, Frickley with ten. The referee had a huge impact on the game, and yet didn't give two obvious penalties. Having just got Pearce back from suspension, it now looks like Bowker will be out for the Bradford game. Celtic played extremely well after losing a man, and deserved this victory, marred only by the referee's performance.

Sponsors
Site Sponsor
Football Accumulators - Official Site Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Site Sponsor
MG Domestic - Official Site Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Official Betting Partner