Celtic held to goalless draw by struggling Ashton

BetVictor Premier Division: Stalybridge Celtic 0-0 Ashton United

Celtic hosted local rivals Ashton United at Bower Fold on New Years Day but the two teams were forced to share the points, even though Celtic created a lot of good chances.

It took Celtic until the 17th minute for their first real chance. Darius Osei did well to break into the penalty area, he sent the ball across goal, Jonathan Ustabasi on the stretch could only divert the ball wide. Ashton looked dangerous up front, Liam Tomsett found himself one on one with Savin, his tame effort was easily saved by the new keeper. As we approached the half hour mark, Celtic went close again. A long ball was chased down by Osei, who beat defender Gianluca Havern to the ball. Osei brought the ball down but could only fire straight at Greg Hartley, who had raced out of his box to narrow the angle.

The lively Craig Mahon had a go from range but did not trouble Savin. In an end to end game, Celtic had another chance just moments after. Declan Walker delivered a corner from the right, after pinball inside the area, Ustabasi took aim but his shot was blocked by the several bodies in the box.

Celtic did have the ball in the net on 33 minutes although the referee had already blown his whistle. Ross Dent was fouled just outside the penalty area, Celtic still retained the ball and Ustabasi raced into the penalty area, his shot found the back of the net but the referee had already blown for the earlier foul on Dent. Both sides went into the break level.

Dent and Chris Smalley had half chances but in truth, neither side really threatened throughout the second half. Ashton did go close with 15 minutes to go, but Celtic survived and managed to clear the ball before it crossed the line.

With just 60 seconds to go, Osei had a good chance to win the game. The ball fell kindly to the striker, but from just outside the area, he couldn’t hit the target as his shot rose over the bar. A crowd of 435 cheered on Celtic until the end and they were nearly rewarded. Substitute Neil Kengni was picked out just inside the penalty area, he went for goal and saw his shot hit the post.

Celtic have another game on Saturday as they travel to Scarborough.

By Taran Dhamrait

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