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Celtic secure trio of wins

NPL Premier Division: Stalybridge Celtic 2-1 Stafford Rangers

Celtic made it three wins in a row as they saw off a useful Stafford side at Bower Fold. 

A brace from Marcus Dackers helped Celtic to a fourth win in five games and although a late strike from Luca Navarro reduced the deficit to 2-1, the game was fairly comfortable for Celtic with Stafford struggling to breach a solid defence. 

Celtic started the game well and looked to continue where they left off against Whitby. 

A long kick from Liam Isherwood was headed on by Justin Johnson into the path of Charley Doyle, he raced towards goal but fired wide of the goal. 

Dackers saw a header held by Luke Pilling before Johnson saw two efforts saved by Pilling, using his trickery to beat defenders on both occasions with Stafford’s keeper on top form to keep both efforts out. 

Connor O’Grady nearly connected with a cross from Callum Harris but Celtic did eventually take the lead on 34 minutes. 

Salford City loanee Dackers has scored five goals in three games for Celtic and looks at home at the front of Simon Haworth’s attack. Dougie Nyaupembe delivered a cross from the right-hand side, it was straight to Dackers who slotted the ball past Pilling and gave Nyaupembe his second assist in as many games. 

Celtic went close to scoring a second just before the break, tenacious midfielder Doyle won the ball back just inside Stafford’s half, he found Harris who set Johnson just outside the penalty area, he tried to curl the ball into the top right corner but his effort was too high. 

After the interval, Dackers again combined with Nyaupembe, this time controlling a cross with his back to goal, on the turn Pilling was this time able to save. 

Dackers didn’t have to wait long though for his second, coming on 61 minutes. A free-kick from Ashley Smith-Brown was headed away but only to the edge of the penalty area, Dackers ran towards the ball and smashed it into the back of the net to give Celtic a two goal advantage. 

Isherwood was called into action for the first time on 64 minutes, saving a low drilled free-kick well, which shows how Celtic had controlled the game, not allowing Stafford a shot on target until mid-way into the second half. 

Celtic looked to manage the game after scoring their second and Scott Bakkor, Jake Burton and Ethan Padden all entered play to inject some fresh legs as the half continued. 

Navarro gave Celtic a slight worry in injury time, scoring after pinball in Celtic’s penalty area but it was to be a consolation goal as the full-time whistle came shortly after with Celtic recording a third straight league win in a row.

 

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