Match Report -
Feeling the waters
By Debbie Taylor

Celtic took a while to get going in this Moss Lane friendly. The line up was near as could be to the final line up for the Stevenage game, and Paul Futcher was trying out his tactics.

That said, it was Celtic who started well, carving out openings. However, it was a quashed by an Altrincham side with some kind of point to make. Aided by the referee they advanced on the Celtic net, Poland scraping the Celtic bar with a move started by a questionable decision.

Poland asked questions of the Celtic defence moments later, when he turned Mathew Woods, and fired of a shot that Ingham caught fairly comfortably. From the clearance, McNeil played in Steele who squared to Pickford, producing a stunning dive from Coburn in the Altrincham nets to palm around the post. Celtic were unable to do any thing with the corner.

For most of the rest of the half, Celtic had to soak up Altrincham pressure with Poland being the main target man for the Robins.

This turned just before half time as Ward started to get more freedom up the right wing. Good crosses were coming in, causing Coburn and his defenders all kinds of problems. Steele was latching on to one, and was heaved illegally off the ball. Again the referee came to Altrincham's rescue by deflecting the goal bound shot wide! And then giving a goal kick.

The second half saw Celtic try some new tactics, and these had an immediate affect, penning Altrincham into their own third. The movement was flowing, as the balls was pinged around. Altrincham were getting frustrated and this showed in some o the tackling. Taylor injured himself during a vicious tackle on Ward.

It came as somewhat of a surprise when Altrincham got into the Celtic box. Thornley twisted Matty Williamson around, and the young defender was slow removing his foot. Shouts for the second time in a minute went up for a penalty. This time the ref helped Altrincham by granting it. Thornley had won it, he took it and scored it.

Celtic ripped right back at them, and had their reward quickly. Parr got onto a lobbed diagonal ball from Ward after an Altrincham defender was caught in two minds. After that it was simple enough for him to square it to Courtney to stick away, side foot style.

Celtic started putting more shots in after that, dominating the game, and leaving Altrincham no chance. However, none of the shots amounted to much, with Coburn relatively unscathed.

It is definitely looking better. The opening thirty minutes were hairy though.

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