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United and Celtic in goalless thriller

FC United and Stalybridge Celtic fought out an entertaining 0-0 draw at Bower Fold on Saturday afternoon with the woodwork being rattled on no less than five occasions and Michael Norton missing a penalty.

The Reds started the pre-season friendly well and could have been a goal up inside 50 seconds as a Steve Torpey cross found the head of Norton. Gonzalez made a save only for the rebound to find Jerome Wright whose whipped the ball back in for Norton but this time the striker headed wide.

Norton was proving a real threat and only a minute later, he was played through and lobbed the keeper but the ball agonisingly bounced against the post.

On two minutes, the dangerous Wright ran through the home defence and chipped the keeper but this time the crossbar came to Stalybridge’s rescue.

Ten minutes later, a mistake in the Celtic defence allowed Norton in again, this time he hesitated and screwed his shot wide of the far post. During this time, the home side started to get into the game with the evergreen Jodie Banim a constant threat.

Celtic hit the woodwork themselves, when Ellams fired onto the bar and Hobson headed the rebound over.

On the half hour mark, FC were awarded a free-kick which Wright curled round the keeper but again onto the post, the rebound going wide. Celtic had a good chance of their own when full-back Rule ran through but Sam Ashton was equal to him and made a save.

Celtic were saved by the woodwork for a fourth time just before half-time when Wright, yet again, fired again the post. The rebound fell to Norton who was just about to compose himself for a shot, when he appeared to be brought down from behind but for some reason the referee decided to wave play on.

The second half was played at the same great tempo as the first but with less goalmouth action. The first incident of note came on 57 minutes when Norton latched onto a poor back-pass and rounded the keeper, only for said custodian to bring him down.

Norton took the penalty himself but sadly rolled the ball wide. Norton could have scored on 75 mins, when a great ball from Ben Deegan played him in but sadly his shot was well saved by the keeper.

Staylbridge probably should have taken the lead a minute later when Ryan Willams went through and shot. Ashton parried the attempt and as the ball rolled towards the line, the converging attacker couldn’t get on the end of it and it was scrambled away to safety.

So a very encouraging performance from FC against higher league opposition and it would have been a victory with a little more luck.

Report by Steven Wood

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First Posted ~ 09:32 Mon 2 Aug 2010
News ID ~ 2994
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013