Stalybridge Celtic moved up to third in the table on Saturday (November 11) after an emphatic 3-2 win at home to Nantwich Town.
It was vital the home side bounced back after two defeats in a row, including a 3-2 loss away to Trafford the week before which dumped them out of the Manchester Premier Cup.
The home side were handed a massive boost just days before kick-off, as they confirmed the re-signing of fan favourite Darius Osei from Marine, for an undisclosed fee. The forward returned to Bower Fold on Thursday evening, following spells at South Shields and Ashton United, helping the side from the North East to the Northern Premier League title in the 2022/23 season.
But Celtic made the worst possible start to the match, going behind with just nine minutes on the clock when forward Byron Harrison’s glanced header nestled into the bottom left corner to give Nantwich the lead.
Harrison was inches away from getting his second of the afternoon just minutes later when his lobbed effort flew just over the crossbar, sparing the blushes of goalkeeper Luke Hewitson, who was in no man's land.
Celtic were handed a route back into the game on the stroke of half-time when the referee pointed to the spot for a handball by a Nantwich defender.
Up stepped midfielder Max Harrop, who made no mistake, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner to draw his side level.
But James Kinsey’s men fell behind once again early in the second half, with Byron Harrison doubling his, and Nantwich’s tally for the day after he was the first to react following a rebound inside the penalty area, sweeping the ball home to put his side 2-1 up.
Hosts Celtic were in no mood to surrender though, and they caused the visitors problems throughout the second half, going close through substitute Obua Mugalula fifteen minutes from time with the winger firing over from point-blank range.
Despite creating a couple of meaningful opportunities, Celtic could not seem to produce that final piece of quality to put the ball into the back of the net, and when Aaron Dwyer’s ball in was flicked onto the post late in the game, it seemed as though it just wasn’t going to be their day.
Until the returning Darius Osei popped up with a debut goal in the 91st minute, tapping in from close range to draw Celtic level.
And the drama did not stop there, in the seventh minute of added time substitute Jack Irlam brought the house down with an unbelievable last-gasp winner, turning in a cross from Aaron Dwyer who did superbly well down the left, skipping past the Nantwich defenders before pulling the ball back to the onrushing Irlam, who tapped the ball home.
A quite incredible end to proceedings at Bower Fold, which sent spectators into a frenzy and produced an afternoon the Celtic fans will never forget.
James Kinsey’s men were back in action on Tuesday (November 14) when they welcomed City of Liverpool to Bower Fold.
The home side took the lead after just eight minutes when Darius Osei got his second goal in as many games, slotting it past the keeper to make it 1-0.
Visitors City of Liverpool were then handed a route back into the game via a penalty, which they took, with Josh Quarless drawing his side level from the spot.
Moments later Adam Rooney put the visitors 2-1 up, before a Michael Grogan own goal levelled up the scoring at 2-2.
With 15 minutes to go, Connor O’Grady headed Celtic in front after meeting a free-kick and powering it past the opposition goalkeeper.
Aaron Dwyer then put the icing on the cake by adding a fourth and sealing all three points for his side.
The win lifts Celtic up to second in the Northern Premier League West Table, level on points with leaders Prescot Cables, trailing only by goal difference.
Next up for them in the league is a trip to Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday (November 18).