Gareth Roberts turns back the clock with Stalybridge Celtic debut aged 40


(Linnets won 5-4 on penalties)

Gareth Roberts against Runcorn

GARETH Roberts is thought to have created history for Stalybridge Celtic in their Cheshire Cup, first-round defeat at Runcorn Linnets.

One month short of his 41st birthday, Celtic’s assistant manager is thought to be the club’s oldest debutant.

Roberts, who won nine full caps for Wales, was press ganged into action at left back as Celtic had three full backs ruled out through injury.

But the player, who counted Tranmere Rovers, Doncaster Rovers and Derby County among his former clubs, was still top drawer and one of the most polished performers on the pitch and was more of a wing back as he was continually attacking down the flank.

Sadly Roberts was on the losing side as injury-hit Celtic’s patched-up side made the cruellest of exits after conceding an equaliser with the last kick of the match and then bowing out on penalties.

Free-kick specialist Louis Corrigan struck the crossbar early on for Linnets, the closest there was to a goal in the opening period.

Celtic made the breakthrough nine minutes into the second period through a Scott Bakkor penalty after Neil Kengni was tripped.

They had chances to seal victory as Kengni and substitute Elisene Fernandes both shot over when clean through on goal.

They were to prove costly misses as Linnets drew level in the fourth and final minute of added time.

Linnets’ substitute Kurt Sherlock cut in from the left wing past Ollie Marx and fired a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Celtic went back for a restart only for the final whistle to blow as they were literally seconds away from victory against Linnets who are chasing promotion from Evo-Stik League, west division.

Celtic lost 5-4 in the shootout with only one of the 10 kicks missed – by midfielder Glenn Rule.

Manager Simon Haworth said: “It was disappointing to lose. We weren’t great, but got ahead and then had other good chances to win it.

“We had five or six players missing and you have to look at the result in the grand scheme of things

Celtic: Winterbottom, Brown (Power 65), Roberts, Dent, Marx, Clarke, Bakkor, Rule, Kengni (Fernandes 87), Wolfenden (Maielo 70), Wilkinson. Sub (not used): Tongue.

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