Match Report -
Celtic succumb to yet another home defeat
By Iain Benson
Stalybridge succumbed to another devastating defeat, this time at the hands of Barrow. There was a lack of cohesive team spirit from the Celtic players. And the new loan player, Walmsley, must be wondering what kind of team he?s joined, albeit temporarily. Pettinger seemed to have been having a bad day at the office, and this showed from the off when Walmsley?s back pass was miscontrolled by the Celtic shot-stopper and went out off his foot for a corner. Moments later, a lack of confidence in the keeper was evident when Foster lifted the ball over his own bar, despite Pettinger calling for the ball and in a position to catch.

Celtic did create chances, and Brodie got an early shot off for Celtic, latching onto Winn?s through ball, but his shot was deflected and it made it a comfortable catch for Timms in the Barrow nets. Despite the new signings of Foster and Walmsley, the defensive problems still exist for Celtic, and this was in evidence when Rogan?s ball through the defence allowed Ridley to charge forward and go one-on-one with Pettinger. Barrow were one to the good early on, and against a Phil Wilson side this made it an uphill struggle.

More defensive mix-ups when Pettinger made a good initial block off Bailey?s shot, only for the rebound to fall to Foster who tried to clear, but forced Pettinger into another block that Keeling put out for a corner. Foster did slightly better with his next clearance, but it fell to Flitcroft who struck the ball well from just outside the area and it was beyond the reach of Pettinger into the bottom corner. Celtic were soon three down, this time form a free kick. After the initial shot had been charged down by the Celtic wall, the free kick had to be retaken, and Ridley made no mistake from the second, spotted a narrow gap between the left hand side of the wall and the goal. With Pettinger covering the other side of the goal, he just couldn?t reach it.

The second half would have had to see a huge improvement from Celtic, but sadly it didn?t come. Too many players were having a bad day for Celtic to mount any kind of comeback. Straight from the off, Rogan turned Keeling and went one-on-one with Pettinger, forcing the Celtic keeper into a good save. Pettinger at least had improved by the second half and when Rogan got through again, Pettinger knocking the ball out for a corner.

A rare foray into the oppositions half saw Krief release Winn. Celtic?s man of the match screwed his shot wide after the Barrow defence had forced him wider and wider. Timms finally had a save to make when ex-Barrow man Hume received the ball of the other ex-Barrow player Maxfield and despite the extremely close attentions of Jones, turned and got a shot off that required an excellent save from Timms. Smith was brought on for the out of sorts Brodie, and his first contribution was to put a dangerous cross across the defence, that Hume did well to get to, and though the looping header was over Timms, it was also over the goal.

The game was put beyond any doubt when a simple cross came in from Brown, Rogan was there to power a header into the top corner despite the attentions of three Celtic defenders and Pettinger.

Celtic were playing for pride now, there was no way that they could get back into this game, so a solitary goal was all they could hope for. After Bayliss had fouled Prince, Prince took the free kick himself, hoping to catch Timms out with a shot from an acute angle, but the Barrow keeper was alert to the danger and made a simple catch. Celtic were getting closer, and with the game going into the final minutes, Celtic won a corner. Hume got his head on it, it beat Timms, but Bond headed off the line. From the second corner, Flitcroft had to react as Ellington pounced, hacking the ball off the line. Winn forced Jones to head narrowly over his own bar as Celtic pressed late on, from the corner, Hume again got his head on it, but put the ball over the bar.

It was a woeful performance from Celtic, and things need to improve, with Celtic just five points outside the relegation zone the team cohesion needs to improve. The players are all good enough, they just need to play as a team.

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