Tue 11 Apr 17
at 21:30 PM
Report: Celtic edge out Harriers
HARRIERS lost out by a single goal in a scrappy game on Tuesday night as they were beaten 1-0 by a battling Stalybridge Celtic side.
A crisp and chilly evening greeted the two teams but that wasn’t evident in the way they started the game.
Any nerves that were supposedly expected to be on show due to their respective league positions were nowhere to be seen as a frantic opening half an hour or so was played out end to end.
It was Harriers who had the greater share of the chances, just three minutes gone when the first arrived as Dan Nti stabbed wide after latching on to a Sam Hornby cross.
Two minutes later skipper Keith Lowe went close to opening the scoring with a towering header that powered over the bar, before Nti then lifted another chance just over the upright as he and Ironside combined.
With a quarter of an hour played, Stalybridge edged forward for their first sight of Sam Hornby’s goal, although his snatched shot flew some way wide.
Only then did the two teams settle down for a quieter period in the game, interrupted either side of the half-hour mark by a low Ryan Croasdale shot that Grant Shenton held, Jordan Tunnicliffe then nodding a header wide from a corner.
On the stroke of half time and out of nowhere, Celtic almost took the lead with the clearest chance of the interval, a firm, swerving drive curling just wide of the target as Adam Mather let fly.
Distance efforts from the home side were their biggest weapon to that point and it was one of these that took them into the lead past the hour as, with a deadly bounce, Danny Pilkington’s driven free kick snuck past everyone and into the back of the net.
Harriers did their best to respond and handed a debut to Northampton Town loan man Manny Sonupe, and five minutes after the goal Jared Hodgkiss looked to have gone close with a header only to be denied by an offside flag.
Sonupe would then warm the hands of Shenton with a glancing header off McQuilkin’s cross with less than a quarter-hour left to play, the same youngster then going close as he aimed a lob over Shenton after Brown had won a header well up against him.