The entire Celtic team can hold their heads high after putting in a Stirling performance after controversially losing goalkeeper Alex Cairns.
Celtic started well, Kristian Platt's free kick seriously testing Stuart Coburn from thirty yards before Callum Warburton dropped a ball off on the wing for Greg Wilkinson. Wilkinson's shot moved several times in the air as it curled up and over Coburn and smacked into the back of the net off the post to give Celtic the lead.
Celtic continued to play well, and Coburn again had to be on his sparkling best to tip over Jack Laird's excellent shot from the edge of the box. Altrincham were struggling to get past the Celtic rear guard, a task made more difficult after a strong but fair challenge by Prince Haywood on Duncan Watmore saw Watmore unable to continue.
Controversy struck just after the half hour mark when Jordan Sinnott's fierce shot was parried by Cairns, falling to Damian Reeves who couldn't get the loose ball on target, but was brought crashing down by Kelvin Bleau in the box as the fullback tried to reach the ball. A penalty was justly awarded, but the official had completely misread the situation and dismissed goalkeeper Alex Cairns. Jordan Barrow donned the goalkeeper jersey and faced Damian Reeves for the spot kick. The Altrincham hit man added to his already impressive tally from the spot, shooting straight down the middle.
Seconds later, and Barrow pulled off an amazing save to deny Jake Moult, only for the rebound to fall back to Moult, who stabbed home to give Altrincham the lead. Altrincham tried to capitalise further but found Barrow to be a fine stand-in keeper, as he pulled off another spectacular blocking save to deny James Lawrie, so Celtic made it to half time just a goal behind.
Altrincham tried to control the second half with a passing game, that Celtic were content to let them play around the back, only challenging when Altrincham crossed the half way line. Altrincham attacks were rare as the home side showed little adventure against ten man Celtic, with Damian Reeves's half-hearted shot not testing Barrow, whilst at the other end, Celtic did create some guilt edged chances, Jamie Mullan cutting inside and firing just wide of the mark, whilst Greg Wilkinson was the final recipient of an uncleared corner, but also put the ball wide. In the final moments of a ground out second half, the final chance fell to the hard working visitors, Wilkinson not getting his low twenty-yard shot on target, and seeing it pass the wrong side of the post, handing the points to the home side, but the plaudits to the visitors.
|3||Leather, Scott||> 83|
|7||Sinnott, Jordan||> 70|
|9||Watmore, Duncan||> 30|
|14||Doughty, Matt||< 83|
|15||Richman, Simon||< 70|
|16||Brooke, Ryan||< 30|