Match Report -
Now we are out.
By Ian Barker

Imagine a Kleenex tissue held under a running tap. That's the level of resistance Celtic put up tonight in what was yet another dismal performance.

I counted only four occasions when we strung even three passes together, and umpteen occasions when we passed the ball directly to the opposition.

Workington keeper Steven Pape had only one shot to save, and that was a back pass which he fluffed in the 63rd minute. Pape took his eye off the ball as Hallows closed in so succeeded only in slicing the ball into the striker's path. It was a simple enough tap in and thank you very much Mr Goalkeeper.

Prior to this he was a mere spectator , but must have enjoyed watching his opposite number Craig Dootson helping Workington to a 2-0 half time lead.

Dootson's first and major clanger occurred in the 29th minute. Town forward Graham Goulding lobbed an innocuous cross into the box where it hung over the penalty spot as Dootson came out for a routine catch. Inexplicably , for there was no challenge for the ball at all , the Celtic goalkeeper dropped the ball at Ennis' feet. A simple lob over the keeper and two Celtic defenders and the home side were ahead.

More lunacy followed. In the 42nd minute Dave Ridings was pressured into a hurried back pass but he struck it too hard and to the keeper's right. It was heading for goal but Craig knew he couldn't catch it so he performed his trade mark jumping scissors kick . The ball skewed away into the path of Goulding for the second lobbed goal of the evening.

Dootson was beaten for the third time in the 76th minute when Glenn Murray took a stroll through the wide open spaces of Borough Park before tapping the ball wide of the hesitant keeper whose challenge in a one on one situation wasn't even feeble - there was simply no challenge at all.

As if to prove he's not totally inept, Dootson did pull off one magnificent tip over the bar from a Murray thunder strike in the 58th minute. But this save notwithstanding , Craig Dootson has surely played his last game for Stalybridge Celtic.

But the responsibility for this debacle cannot lie solely with him. Wharton became so exasperated with his own inability to pass to a team mate that he took a reckless lunge from behind at Ryan McCluskey in the 35th minute. Both players went rolling across the turf, but only the one in a red shirt had been hurt. That the referee did not instantly dismiss the Celtic player is a mystery. He didn't even blow for a foul. Dave Miller did the right thing at half time by bringing Wharton off for Denham.

Not that it made a lot of difference. Fitzgerald flashed in one or two crosses and one or two shots but nothing troubled the home defence. Eastwood ran about to little effect and was substituted late on for Kenny Mayers who himself was an invisible participant during his fifteen minutes on the pitch.

Colin Potts was played out of the game by his namesake Craig Potts, and the defence was a shambles. Terry Bowker continues to do well in the air but he is all at sea when confronted on the ground by pacey and talented strikers even of Unibond Division One standard.

All credit to Workington .They demonstrated how important passion and desire are as they battled for every ball and coaxed each other to give of their best. If only Celtic players would talk to one another , that would be a start!

The ride through the North Lakes on a sunny afternoon , the steak pies served in the social club, the excellent match programme and Schubert on the radio going home all helped relieve the gloom of another bitterly disappointing evening for Celtic's travelling faithful. They deserve better.

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