STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 0, WITTON ALBION 2
The omens looked ominous from the fourth minute when striker Dan Cockerline missed a sitter for Stalybridge Celtic.
And so it proved as Celtic slipped to a third home defeat of the season in Evo-Stik League, premier division against lower mid-table Witton Albion who ended their five match unbeaten run in the league.
“We were flat, poor and I didn’t see it coming, but feared the worst from the moment Dan missed a sitter.
“We huffed and puffed but didn’t have much energy. We didn’t have many players who performed well and only three or four came out of the game with any credit.”
Cockerline sidefooted a shot wide from six yards from a Douglas Nyaupembe cross when it looked as though he could not miss.
Witton snatched the lead in the 16th minute when striker Rob Hopley glanced home a header from a cross by Osebi Abadaki.
Celtic created a few decent chances but never looked like equalising.
And Witton would have doubled their lead late in the half when Will Booth burst through on goal only for keeper Paddy Wharton to make a good block with his legs.
Celtic lived dangerously at the start of the second half when Josh Wardle and Danny McKenna both struck the frame of the goal in quick succession while Booth was denied by the legs of Wharton for a second time.
You had a feeling it might be Celtic’s day as Witton ought to have been out of sight after an hour.
It was not to be as Witton eventually grabbed a second goal when Celtic defender Ollie Marx gave away the ball enabling Tom Owens to burst through on goal to slot home a low shot.
Late in the game Celtic had chances to force their way back into the game as substitutes Neil Kengni and Liam Tongue made an impact.
Kengni had a shot blocked before the rebound was fired over by Scott Bakkor.
Tongue bent a free kick just wide of the upright and then forced a decent save from Greg Hall as Celtic failed to find the net for only the second time in 15 games.