Teenage rampage (the sequel)
By Paul Armstrong
Three stunning goals secured an impressive win for Reds following their second visit to Stalybridge in twenty four hours.
Thwarted by the heavy rain on Tuesday, the players were greeted by a playing surface that was probably worse than the night before but, on this occasion, the deluge had passed.
Rival managers Steve Burr and Lee Andrews discussed the situation with referee, Craig Buxton, and the latter made the decision to start the game. With the benefit of hindsight, it was the correct decision.
Although it was a meaningless, ‘dead-rubber’ fixture, both teams provided an enjoyable encounter for the worryingly low crowd, with just half a dozen of those supporting the Cumbrians.
And they were treated to an outstanding performance by the senior players whilst the six teenagers in the side were awesome. Three of the kids – Cam Harker (17), Joe Hetherington (16) and Sheldon Mossop (18) – were starting a league game for the first time and each had a debut to be proud of.
Harker looked good defensively and offensively and played an important part in the opening goal after thirty one minutes. He made good progress up the right and provided the assist for Scott Allison who curled in a superb effort to register Reds’ 100th goal of the season.
They doubled the advantage on the hour with a fine solo goal from Steven Rigg. He collected the ball on halfway, got a lucky ricochet off Liam Dickinson, advanced towards Celtic ‘keeper, George Sykes-Kenworthy, then dinked the ball into the net for a superb goal. An elaborate celebration followed in front of the empty terraces.
Celtic reduced the arrears five minutes later when Oli Roberts drove the ball past Taylor after good work on the left by Connor Hughes. Seconds earlier, Hughes’ shot beat Taylor, hit the foot of the post and rebounded into the grateful keeper’s arms.
But Reds’ responded well and restored their two goal advantage in the seventieth minute with the third every bit as good as the two earlier strikes. Allison played a sublime pass down the inside right channel and young Mossop timed his run to perfection before hammering an unstoppable shot past the Celtic ‘keeper for a wonderful first goal in a Reds’ shirt.
Andrews’ side could have added more with a few opportunities squandered and an Allison shot rattling the crossbar.
But Taylor wasn’t idle at the other end and he made four quality stops to keep the home side at bay, including a one-handed scooped wonder save to deny Jake Charles.
There were excellent performances all over the pitch with the fully deserved victory restoring parity in the wins and losses columns.
Stalybridge Celtic Sykes-Kenworthy, Holgate, Maiceo (Penistone, 46), Wilkinson (Fernandes, 46), Ashworth, Dickinson, Charles, Roberts, Pouamoun, Wolfenden, Hughes. Substitutes – Story, Winterbottom (not used).
Workington Taylor, Harker, Rowntree, Douglas, Hetherington, Holt, Brown, Rigg, Allison, Mossop, Holliday. Substitute – Andrews (not used).
Referee Craig Buxton, Accrington