Stalybridge Celtic 1-1 Curzon Ashton
Att - 716
Both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils in the first league meeting between the two sides since 1987. In what was an entertaining encounter Celtic would rue missing several guilt edged chances including a late penalty, whilst visiting Curzon will also look back on what might have been after dominating large amounts of the play and playing against ten men for a third of the game.
Celtic started the game the stronger of the sides and Bohan Dixon scored the first of the afternoons spectacular goals on 9 minutes. He picked the ball up just inside the Curzon half before powering his way through several challenges. The Curzon defence couldn't stop him and Dixon let fly with a hard and low shot into the bottom corner that left Burton with no chance.
Despite going behind Curzon responded well. Luckily for Celtic goalkeeper Tony McMillan was in inspired form and made his first of many excellent stops as he denied Brooke who was clean through on goal. The visitors put the pressure on Celtic and looked threatening from every attack whilst also playing some excellent football. Against the run of play Celtic should have doubled their lead right on half time. A corner from the left flank was met by an unmarked Matty Hughes but the big centre half put his header inches wide when he should really have scored.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first. Celtic started brightly before Curzon again became the dominant side. It was during the opening minutes of the half that Celtic missed another glorious chance. Chris Simm found himself clean through on goal after good work before striking an effort into the far corner. It looked a certain goal but Burton some how got a toe onto the ball and turned the ball away for a corner.
Moments later the missed chances would come back to haunt Celtic. Ryan Brooke leveled the game with the afternoons second wonder goal. From 25 yards out Brooke turned and curled a sublime effort into the top corner. No goalkeeper was going to stop that effort. With Curzon's tails already Celtic stupidly gave their opponents an even stronger hold of the game. Captain Matty Hughes already on a yellow card pulled back Warburton on the half way line laving the referee with no option but to send Hughes for an early shower.
Celtic reshaped and knew they had a battle on their hands to hold out for a point. Then out of nowhere Celtic got a golden chance to steal all three points. Danny Burns held the ball up well in the Curzon box before Jack Truelove tripped him. A penalty was given and Bohan Dixon stepped up to give Celtic the advantage. To the Celts dismay Dixon crashed his penalty onto the cross bar and over.
A let off for Curzon who immediately went on the front foot and tried to take advantage of their numerical advantage. Joe Guest managed to beat McMillan but scrambling back was Oliver Crowley who turned the ball away as it was about to go in. Warburton was then next up to test McMillan but yet again the goalkeeper was equal to the effort. It was a full on onslaught from Curzon and a goal seemed inevitable. But amazingly again Celtic should have won the game against the run of play. With only minutes left on the clock Celtic had a glorious chance blocked on the line after a scramble in the box. Firstly Burton clawed away a chance before it fell for Wisdom who didn't quite connect fully with his effort allowing for a goal line block to deny Celtic claiming the points. A thoroughly enjoyable game that saw Celtic create the more clear cut chances, however Curzon enjoyed vast amounts of possession and came up against an inspired McMillan. A good spectacle from Tameside's top two sides and one that neither side can be too disappointed in claiming a point from.