Celtic win by the odd goal in seven
Reds re-discovered the goal scoring habit but the three goal salvo coincided with a shambolic defensive performance, as they slipped to a sixth successive defeat.
It might have been an entertaining game for the neutral, or the handful of Celtic fans, but not for Reds boss, Lee Andrews.
“Although things are going against us at the moment, you make your own luck in football and we didn’t help ourselves in a poor first half with the game passing too many players by,” he said.
He was referring to the two poor goals they conceded which paved the way to Celtic getting a foothold on a slippery Borough Park pitch.
Andrews had to go into the game without midfielders Anthony Wright and Jordan Holt and his problems were compounded when Rob Wilson and Phil McLuckie declared themselves unfit prior to kick-off.
Josh Calvert and Dan Wordsworth returned to the starting XI, however.
The visitors were ahead inside six minutes and regained the lead after Reds equalised, with more topsy-turvy frolics in the second half.
Liam Dickinson and Oliver Roberts were allowed to exchange passes on the edge of the area before the former side-footed the ball beyond Aaran Taylor to open the scoring.
But Reds responded positively and were back on terms two minutes later. Conor Tinnion advanced towards goal and a firmly hit low shot was only partially saved by Celtic ‘keeper, Jack Walton. Sam Smith was quick to react and fired the loose ball high into the Derwent End net.
Then a Jamie Mellen header fell towards Scott Allison but Walton gathered the ball in the subsequent goal line scramble.
Another attempt on the Stalybridge goal came via a Dav Symington free kick but the shot drifted well wide.
Good play, and a good advantage from the referee, saw Celtic carve Reds’ rearguard open again and Connor Hughes slid in to force the ball over the line after twenty eight minutes.
But if that was poor defensive play on Workington’s part, they were a tad unlucky with the visitors’ third goal four minutes after the restart.
A wayward shot was probably heading for throw-in but Greg Wilkinson stuck out a leg and diverted the ball into the vacant net.
Tinnion’s meandering run into the area resulted in him being fouled and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Scott Allison converted in style and at, 2-3, Reds were back in contention.
And they were unlucky not to level matters in their next sortie forward. Symington curled a teasing free-kick towards the far post, Smith met the ball with a diving header but Walton kept it out with a fine reflex save.
But Hughes’ second goal, and Celtic’s fourth, effectively won the game for Steve Burr’s side in the seventy first minute. He cut in from the right and curled in a left foot wonder goal from twenty-five yards.
Reds scored an equally spectacular goal after seventy nine minutes to restore hope once more. Tinnion and Sam Joel worked a short corner routine and the latter rifled in a brilliant goal from an acute angle.
It led to an exciting finale and Allison’s volley was brilliantly saved by Walton and then Joel squandered a good opportunity to grab a last gasp equaliser.
But Celtic survived and, overall, deserved the three points.
Workington Taylor, Douglas, Rowntree, Wordsworth, Smith, Mellen, Symington, Calvert (Whitehead, 85), Allison, Joel, Tinnion. Substitutes – Wilson, McLuckie, Carter, Hetherington (not used).
Stalybridge Celtic Walton, Holgate, Honeyball, Morton, Ashworth, Killock, Wilkinson, Roberts (Brown, 69), Dickinson, Wolfenden, Hughes. Substitutes – Crowley, Taylor, Charles, Ramsden (not used).
Referee Lindsey Robinson, Hebburn
Bookings: Tinnion (Workington), Hughes (Stalybridge Celtic).