COVID-19 Policy - please click here
Match Report -
Syke-o 90th minute goal earns replay
By Debbie Taylor

Playing with a swirling wind, it was difficult to put any kind of passing together, plus with Celtic coming into the game under the charge of temporary manager Peter Wragg, it was difficult to see how Celtic could get anything from the game. The fact they did owned something to clinical finishing from Hayward, Eastwood and Sykes. The fact that the game wasn't sewn up by these goals boiled down to weak defending.

Celtic had the better of the opening few minutes and looked bright and alert. Whealing's overlapping pass to Bonsall could have opened the Barrow defence, but instead Ridley was there to put the ball out for an early corner. The corner pinged around the box before arriving at Keeling, whose shot was over the bar.

Sykes fouled Paterson near the halfway line, and Barrow issued a warning when the ball fell to Anthony who shot wide from distance as the wind caught the ball. A Sykes clearance moments later showed that Celtic hadn't picked up on the lesson when Paterson, some thirty yards from goal was not closed down and he rifled a shot towards goal. Again the wind caught the ball and pushed it beyond Dootson's reach in at the far post.

Barrow nearly completed a sucker punch when Knight whipped a great ball across the face to Campbell, completely unmarked at the back post. He took a touch that allowed Dootson time to scramble across and when the shot came it was a fine save from the Celtic number 1. Dootson was again on hand when Campbell raced onto a ball that had been put past German. Dootson didn't look favourite but Campbell slowed allowing Dootson to slide into the ball, knocking it out for a goal kick.

Campbell was causing no end of grief for the Celtic back line. Sykes tried to knock the ball out off him, but Campbell wrapped his legs around it and kept it in. Fortunately, Keeling was alert to the danger and came across to smack the ball for a corner that Dootson palmed clear.

Celtic would have levelled had they had a touch of luck. A great ball in by German was chested towards goal by Ben Smith, but Ridley calf deflected it just the wrong side of the post with Capp in the Barrow goal nowhere near reaching it. The corner was wasted, and but for German would have led to a counter attack from Barrow.

Parr was lucky not to receive a yellow card when he slid into Ridley very late on the half way line flattening the fullback. The free kick was caught first by the wind, and then by Dootson. The wind was playing a big part in the first half, Dootson's punt was held up and fell to Paterson who tried a replay of his goal from a similar distance, and this time too much wind pushed it around the post. Sykes was harshly adjudged to have fouled Campbell on the edge of the box, but again the wind played its part in the result, sending the ball well wide of the mark (or it was a terrible shot!).

Parr was almost immediately adjudged to have fouled Anthony just inside the Celtic third. The free kick was blocked on route, coming out to Paterson. The Barrow attacker lofted the ball over the static Celtic defence; Campbell was on hand to latch onto it (there was some thought he may have been offside, but it wasn't given). One on one with Dootson it was the coolest of finishes to double Barrow's lead.

Again Barrow tried to hit Celtic as they reeled. A ball over the top of the midfield fell between Sykes and Wheeling and Knight raced between them onto the ball. With two defenders converging, he tried the hurried shot, wide.

As the half went into the last few minutes Celtic looked a little more promising. Whealing got forward and put a great cross in for Hayward, Cotterill was the man marking him, and he put it out for a corner, and cleared the corner. Immediately, Eastwood brought it back and won a corner off Colley, which Capp caught.

Celtic were holding Barrow at bay more easily, forcing Knight to try his luck from distance, and though it did catch the wind, there wasn't enough to worry Dootson.

Parr again slid in heavily on Ridley leaving the Barrow man on the floor, and was this time awarded a yellow card. Had he received the card he should have received for the first offence, he would have walked with this one. From the free kick Heffernan ran past Bonsall and put a low cross across the face for Knight running in, but Dootson cut it out.

Temporary-manager Wragg's halt-time team-talk must have been a good one because Celtic came out looking for an early goal. Hayward struggled to get into the box with Wheeler smothering him, and was awarded a foul yards outside the box. Cotterill headed the free kick out for a corner. The corner eventually fell to Wharton outside the box. His shot was a cracker, but narrowly wide.

Parr had obviously watched his friend Ricky Hatton fighting in Manchester the night before, and was substituted before he could be sent off. Bowker came on for him, and Sykes was pushed into midfield. Suddenly, Sykes regained the form from his opening few games. Celtic kept pressing, Wharton found some space outside the box, but his shot was blocked, falling to Smith, his shot too was blocked.

A superb overlapping run by Wharton allowed him to get to the by line and pull the cross back to where Hayward was running in, and Hayward side-footed the ball under Capp's body to pull a goal back for Celtic. During Wharton's run, Hayward had been offside, but by the time Wharton made his pass, he was onside. Should the goal have stood? It did, and like Barrow's second, that's all that counts.

Barrow tried to up their game, and won a corner out of Bowker. Dootson palmed it away. German conceded a corner that Anthony pumped into the box, Paterson got his head on it, but Keeling did too, flicking the ball over the bar for a corner. Dootson punched it clear again.

Celtic drew level with an absolute stunner of a goal by Eastwood. Bonsall nodded the ball over the top, Eastwood breached the Barrow offside trap with a great diagonal run, he volleyed the ball from an acute angle over the top of the advancing Capp and into the back of the net ? vintage Eastwood.

Again Barrow tried to take the initiative, with Campbell putting himself about in the Celtic defence, and bringing down Anthony's lob, with a half volley he put the ball over the bar. They then got as little help from the referee. Bowker slid to block Campbell's cross. Campbell missed the ball though, and stumbled. From the referee's position, it must have looked like a foul just outside the box, for that is what he awarded. Justice was done when Dootson punched clear.

But Celtic were looking the more likely team to score. Eastwood found some space thirty yards out and had a powerful strike, but the wind had chosen that moment to die down, and Capp was well positioned. A great cross from German, after dancing past Ridley, saw Eastwood fling himself at the ball, missing by a hair's breadth of putting Celtic through into the next round.

If Celtic were getting cocky, Barrow sent a warning shot across the bows. The dangerous looking Paterson broke the offside trap and burst into the box with only Dootson to beat. He struck the ball with Dootson not coming off his line, and saw Dootson produce a superb stop at the expense of a corner. Sykes' head gave Barrow a second corner. The corner was cleared only as far as Ridley. The fullback lobbed the ball back into the box, Dootson came to claim, but Colley reached it first, getting his head on the ball and looping it over Dootson. Dootson slipped trying to get back, and the ball fell into the net.

Celtic suddenly had it all to do again.

Denham had come on for Bonsall, as Celtic switched to 4-3-3, and he immediately caused problems fro the home defence, it took three and the keeper to stop him from literally running the ball into the net. Keeling got forward, a nice interchange with Smith and the ball was lofted over the defensive line. Despite Wheeler's close attentions, Hayward still managed to volley the shot towards goal, with the ball whizzing narrowly wide. With time running out, Denham again tried the direct approach, this time he was clattered by the keeper, it didn't look good and he stayed on the floor. With Steve Smith having come on for Ben Smith Denham couldn't be substituted and he would hobble through the remainder of the game.

Wharton found Whealing overlapped him, fed Whealing the ball, who then cut inside Heffernan, and put a superb cross into a packed box. Only one man mattered, with a waist high kick Sykes connected sweetly with the ball sending it crashing through the crowd and past Capp who stood no chance of reaching it. It was the last kick of the game, and the 'Saviour' had saved Celtic and earned them a replay.

The first half saw Barrow easily overshadow a nervous looking Celtic. Some canny substitutions and Wragg magic turned Celtic from a team deservedly two goals down, into one that deservedly won the second half 3-1.

The second half form will have to continue without Wragg on Tuesday night, as he won't be there. But hopefully enough of his desire for Celtic to do well will shine through and Celtic can take themselves onto the next round to face whoever fate throws at them.

Main club sponsor
Dream Bi-Folding Doors Official Shirt Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Warm-up Kit Sponsor
Mulgrew Haulage - Official Warm-up Kit Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Site Sponsor
MG Domestic - Official Site Sponsors of Stalybridge Celtic
Hospitality Providers
Bower Fold Events - hospitality providers