STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2, SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC 3
Injury-hit Stalybridge Celtic lost to a last-minute penalty at home to Evo Stik League, premier division leaders Scarborough Athletic.
It provided a dramatic finish to a sometimes feisty match in which Celtic, whose five match unbeaten league run ended, more than matched high-flying Athletic.
And there were plenty of positives for Celtic manager Simon Haworth who described his side as a “touch naive” in conceding goals on the stroke of half time and at the end.
He said: “We were excellent and told the players to take the positives from the game.
“We were missing four starters (from Saturday’s win at North Ferriby United) and yet gave it a real go and had them flustered. We worked ever so hard to get it back to 2-2.
“We were a little bit naive and got caught up in the occasion.”
Celtic took the lead midway through the opening period as left-back Scott Wilson was rewarded for his perseverance as she started and finished an attacking move.
They lived dangerously as Athletic twice hit the frame of the goal before equalising on the stroke of half time.
Goalkeeper James Aspinall flapped at a corner and James Walshaw looped a header over the defender covering on the goalline.
Athletic took the lead just short of the hour following a superb passing move that ended with Wayne Brooksby crossing from the left for Nathan Valentine to fire home a low shot.
Celtic displayed a never-say die spirit as Ross Dent was denied by a super save from Thomas Taylor and Liam Tongue’s goalbound volley was block before they equalised 11 minutes from time.
A raking crossfield pass from substitute Greg Wilkinson released Scott Bakkor on the right and his far-post cross was slid home by Wolfenden.
Celtic conceded a penalty in the last minute after a breakaway following their corner. A big boot downfield caught them out as Wilson missed a header. As Walshaw burst into the box he was brought down by striker Wolfenden who had been covering in defence.
That was not the end of the drama as Aspinall appeared to save Michael Coulson’s spot kick before the ball appeared to squirm under his body and trickle over the line, a cruel finish as spirited Celtic were left empty handed.