Vauxhall Motors 1, Stalybridge Celtic 3: Away points signal end of unwanted record
It had been a long time coming since the ‘Bridge’s last league win. There has been some near misses, particularly the 3-3 draw against Solihull Moors and the 1-1 home draw against Brackley Town. Plus a few exasperating defensive errors which has meant the odd sloppy opponent’s goal, leading to defeat. None of the above were key to Stalybridge Celtic’s visit to Rivacre Park.
The game started with Celtic attacking towards the Ellesmere Port end of the pitch, and the Motormen had the upper hand for the first five minutes. Shortly after, Stalybridge Celtic would dominate, but shots started hitting the woodwork. Play was also affected by gusty winds; though a common bugbear owing to the ground’s windswept position, it was stronger than on previous encounters.
By the thirtieth minute, the Celts started using the wind to its advantage. After two missed shots on target, the 43rd minute saw Matt Regan open the scoring. By the second half, Stalybridge Celtic stepped up a few gears and were well and truly in the driving seat. Sean McConville forced the Vauxhall ‘keeper Zac Jones into making a save, and shortly after, he was caught by Motormen defender Andy Nicholas. Penalty to Stalybridge Celtic.
The penalty was clinically converted by Kristian Platt in the 53rd minute, to the goalkeeper’s right hand side. 2-0 to Celtic, and there was more to come when Ryan Croasdale scored his first goal for the ‘Bridge. A cross from Liam Dickinson baffled Zac Jones, putting the game beyond Vauxhall’s reach in the 67th minute.
Vauxhall Motors pulled one back in the 71st minute. After coming on as substitute in the 68th minute, Adam Hughes scored what would become a consolation goal. In spite of the semblance of a belated fightback by the Motormen, Stalybridge Celtic came out on top. Needless to say, ‘Bridge’s first win since the 7th December 2013 was truly worth the wait.
As a consequence, Stalybridge Celtic has moved up two places from 20th to 18th in Skrill North table. Other results worked in the ‘Bridge’s favour with Workington losing 3-0 to Brackley Town, Gloucester City’s 3-3 away draw against Gainsborough Trinity, and Oxford City’s 2-1 away defeat against Boston United.
Today’s fixture at Rivacre Park saw a solid performance from Keith Briggs’ side. Hopefully the first of many.
S.V., 15 March 2014.