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Ladies - Fantastic team performance picks up all 3 points
Author: Melissa Collier - Sun 7 Nov 21Stalybridge Celtic put in a fantastic performance to overcome a stubborn and talented Altrincham Hale side. So much so, no single Player of the Match could be named due to each players valuable efforts.The game kicked off with Hale on the offensive, challenging Celtic keeper Emma Burns. 10 for Altrincham picked up the ball on the left wing, creating an excellent through ball up field. 4 raced towards the ball near the box but was picked up by Burns who had raced off her line. Followed came another immediate attack, 6 received the ball outside of her area, placing a direct longball to 15. She turned on the edge of the area, passing to 12 whoâ€™s effort fortunately fell wide. Following a scrap for the ball in the centre circle, Hale gained possession. 2 received the ball on the edge of the right wing, using her lightening pace to make a quick entry into the box. Her effort towards goal were tame however, picked up by Burns with ease.Hales efforts towards goal paid off in the 25th minute, a free kick at the halfway line brought the ball up field. After a succession of clever passes outside of the Celtic area for Altrincham, 12 worked the ball forward up the left wing. The ball was tapped towards 16 through the defence, giving her the space to finish into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.Altrincham held the lead for just 7 minutes, with Celtic being eager to turn the tide. A precise freekick from captain Leanne Mansfield was met by Mary Smithies in the box; Smithies unselfishly tapped the ball across to Regan Lord who had found space. Lord curled the ball into the bottom corner, bringing the score to 1-1. The home side were unfortunate not to regain the lead, a well-placed long ball connected with 16 who had positioned herself outside of the box. Her shot fell wide of the post, keeping the score level.Celtic were handed the lead before the half-time whistle, Smithies floating cross from the left wing fell onto the face of goal, with the ball accidently colliding into 5 and flying into her own net.The second half kicked off with a solid display of defensive work to make life difficult for the Hale forwards. Katie Nix made an excellent challenge on 11 who had counter-attacked from a Celtic corner. Intense marking in the box followed from Nix, preventing space for the Hale forwards and leading to an easy save for keeper Burns.Followed came an excellent team goal for Celtic that cemented their lead, a turn from Smithies beat 10 from inside of the Celtic half, giving her the space to carry the ball. Smithies placed a pin-pointed pass towards Lord, who lurked on the edge of the box. Using pace to her advantage, she shot from just outside of the area with a low-driven ball, slipping under the diving keepers arms and making it 3-1.Celtic came incredibly close to adding to their tally in the 62nd minute, a free-kick from Mansfield into the box beat the wall, meeting Smithies who connected but her shot fell wide of the post.Hale retaliated almost immediately after, a powerful shot from 12 towards the face of goal was met by Burns, who punched the ball out for a corner. The opposition felt the pressure in the box, with 3 players attempting to shoot but each were unable to break through the well-organised Stalybridge defence. Nix reclaimed possession from 14, clearing the danger. Stalybridge all but confirmed their victory in the 70th minute, a long ball from Nix into the Hale box was met by Smithies. Her shot was driven under the keeper, followed in by Lord to complete her hat-trick and bring the score to 4-1.Burns made 2 excellent injury time saves to prevent a late comeback for Hale; a dangerous volley from 14 was not enough to put her name on the score sheet.Stalybridge Celtic next play away to Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose stadium on Sunday 14th November (14:00).
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