Stalybridge Celtic 2 – 4 Harrogate Town

gained their first win since the eighteenth of March, with a comprehensive 4-2 victory, at a wintry Bower Fold, over already relegated,Stalybridge Celtic.
A welcome,but surprise name on the Town teamsheet, was Dominic Knowles,who was returning after a long spell of injury.
Town were first onto the attack,when Simon Ainge’s header from a Joe Leesley cross found Liam Agnew inside the area,but the home defence managed to block his shot.
It was only a stay of execution for Celtic however,because on eleven minutes,Ainge headed a Leesley free kick into the path of Danny Ellis who headed in at the far post.
Celtic responded quickly,and twice inside a minute,Peter Crook was called upon to make two vital stops from Danny Wilkins and James Roberts, as they broke through Town’s central defence.
Celtic were not to be denied and on the half hour,a low cross from Wilkins was unfortunately sliced into his own net by Luke Shiels.
Harrogate soon regained the inititive and Celtic keeper,Grant Shenton,was called into action to keep out two shots from Leesley.
Marcus Day,still seeking his first senior goal,was thwarted by a brilliant one handed save from Shenton,to keep out his sweetly struck shot from the edge of the area.
Warren Burrell headed wide when well placed and Shenton ,once again saved Celtic,when on the stroke of half time, he
saved another Ainge header.
Celtic grew in confidence after the break and Kieran Dunbar fired a Gary Gee centre just wide of the post,but it was Town who should have regained the lead,when Ainge latched on to a long clearance,but blasted his shot high over the .
On seventy minutes,Celtic took a surprise lead when Gee knocked in Dunbar’s low cross at the far post.
With a quarter of an hour left,Knowles was introduced to the fray to replace Day and soon found the net,to the delight of the travelling fans,who were braving Arctic temperatures on the terraces.
A mistimed header by Shenton enabled Knowles to head over the keeper into the empty net.
With three minutes left,Knowles beat the offside trap and rounded Shenton to slip the ball into the unguarded goal.
It only remained for Ainge to put the icing on the cake,when,deep into stoppage time he headed a long clearance past Shenton.
Town wrap up this season’s programme, on Saturday, when they make the long trip to Telford.
Town,
1 Crook, 2 Platt,3 Parker,4 Thirlwell, 5 Shiels, 6 Ellis (c), 7 Day (Knowles 74),8 Burrell, 9 Ainge, 10 Agnew,11 Leesley.
Unused subs,14 Porritt,15 Pittman, 16 Lees,18 Elliott
Scorers,Ellis 11,Knowles 79,87,Ainge 90 Bookings nil Att 187
Stalybridge,
1 Shenton,2 Morton (c),3 Regan, 4 Platt, 5 Mather (Bishop 87),6 Chalmers,7 Dunbar, 8 McKnight,9 Roberts (Ahmadi 45),10 Wilkins (Gee 52),11 Bakare.
Scorers,Shiels (31 og),Gee 70.
Unused subs,16 Ryan,17 O’Neill. Bookings nil
By John Harrison.

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