STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2, HEDNESFORD TOWN 2
STALYBRIDGE Celtic were left frustrated as an injury-time goal denied them victory against play-off chasing Hednesford Town.
Captain Tom Thorley struck in the 92nd minutes when Celtic looked to be heading for another important win in their battle to climb further away from danger in Evo Stik League, premier division.
Celtic trailed to a first-half goal from James Fitzgibbon goal and it looked as though it was not going to be their day until they staged a great, late fightback.
Two goals in three minutes from Matty Wolfenden brought Bower Fold to life as Celtic turned a deficit into a lead.
And after Hednesford made it 2-2, Celtic might still have snatched victory in the fourth and final minute of added time when Ross Killock headed agonisingly wide from Hughes’ corner.
Celtic manager Steve Burr, whose side has lost only once in eight league and cup games in 2018, said: “It was a game we should have won and we were the only side that wanted to win it.
“We could have had it done and dusted but for their keeper who was terrific.
“Once they got in front they set out to frustrate through spoiling and time wasting.
“When we got back into the game, we were vibrant, but probably needed a third goal.
“I think their equaliser went in off their player’s shin and even then we had a good chance to win it.”
Visiting keeper James Wren made three fine first-half saves to deny Connor Hughes and twice Jake Charles as Celtic did everything but find the net.
Celtic were caught on the counter seven minutes before the break when Fitzgibbon fired across the face of goal into the far corner.
The second half was scrappy and disjointed until Wolfenden struck after 79 minutes with a predator’s finish.
Liam Dickinson headed Hughes’ corner towards goal and Wolfenden fired home from inside the six-yard box.
And it got even better two minutes later when Hughes made a mesmeric run down the right before Charles provided the cross for Wolfenden to hammer high into the roof of the net from close range.
Hednesford made it 2-2 when Celtic failed to stop a cross from the left that was bundled home by Thorley from close range.
Even then, though, Killock had a chance to cover himself with glory but headed fractionally wide.
Celtic: Walton, Morton, Honeyball, Brown (Crowley 70), Ashworth, Killock, Charles, Roberts (Wilkinson 77), Dickinson (Holgate 90+2), Wolfenden, Hughes. Subs (not used): Taylor, Winterbottom.