Droylsden were unable to claim back-to-back league victories and instead fell to a 4-2 defeat at playoff hopefuls Prescot Cables.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Dave Pace’s outfit, who entered the game having won five, drawn three and lost six of their league fixtures this season.
Prescot have enjoyed a promising start and looked primed to claim a play-off spot – if not the title itself.
However, despite their lowly
league position, the Bloods took the lead in the 18th minute through Domaine Rouse.
The striker’s effort proved to be in vain however, as the hosts fought back and took a 2-1 lead through a Chris Almond double in the 35th and 40th minute.
To their credit, Droylsden responded well and pulled level on the stroke of half-time when Luke Daly notched.
Prescot are the division’s second highest scorers this season, so it came as little surprise when they reasserted their lead in the 74th minute through James McCulloch.
Droylsden were unable to clear the danger inside the box, and with the ball at his feet, McCulloch hit an effort beyond a mound of players and into the bottom right corner.
The Bloods tried their hardest to pull level, but their efforts were undone in the 89th minute when Michael Monaghan, previously a Droylsden player, curled a stunning effort from the edge of the box into the top right corner.
l In player news at the Butcher’s Arms, Shaquille Antoine Clarke’s knee injury, which he sustained at Prescot Cables, isn’t as serious as first suspected.
According to the club’s media source, his condition has improved and he should be available for the visit of Leek Town this weekend.
The Bloods are currently five places and eight points below Leek, who’s home fixture against Colwyn Bay was postponed last weekend due to a waterlogged pitch.
Two players have parted the Butcher’s Arms in the past week.
Clive Smith has joined Atherton Collieries, while Moussa Samassa has opted to join Glossop North End.
EFL League Two: Cambridge United v Yeovil Town, Carlisle United v Colchester United, Exeter City v Crewe Alexandra, Forest Green Rovers v Mansfield Town, Grimsby Town v Swindon Town, Lincoln City v Morecambe, Macclesfield Town v Crawley Town, Newport County v MK Dons, Northampton Town v Stevenage, Notts County v Tranmere Rovers, Oldham Athletic v Bury, Port Vale v Cheltenham Town.
National League North: Chorley v Darlington.
Evo-Stik Premier Division: Bamber Bridge v Lancaster City, Gainsborough Trinity v Buxton, Hyde United v Nantwich Town, Marine v Witton Albion, Mickleover Sports v Grantham Town, South Shields v Stalybridge Celtic, Stafford Rangers v Hednesford Town, Whitby Town v Matlock Town.
Evo-Stik West: Chasetown v Runcorn Linnets, Clitheroe v Radcliffe, Colwyn Bay v Atherton Collieries, Droylsden v Leek Town, Glossop North End v Prescot Cables, Newcastle Town v Market Drayton Town, Skelmersdale United v Kendal Town, Trafford v Kidsgrove Athletic, Widnes v Mossley.
North West Counties First Division North: AFC Blackpool v AFC Liverpool, Ashton Town v Holker Old Boys, Atherton LR v Prestwich Heys, Daisy Hill v AFC Darwen, Longridge Town v Avro, Lower Breck v Shelley, Nelson v Cleator Moor Celtic, St Helen’s Town v Bacup Borough, Steeton v Garstang.
North West Counties First Division South: Abbey Hulton United v Maine Road, Cammell Laird 1907 v New Mills, Cheadle Heath Nomads v Eccleshall, Ellesmere Rangers v Sandbach United, Rylands v Alsager Town, St Martins v Stone Old Alleynians, Stone Dominoes v Barnton, Vauxhall Motors v Cheadle Town, Wythenshawe Amateurs v Stockport Town, Wythenshawe Town v FC Oswestry Town.
Manchester Premier League: Bolton County v Old Altrinchamians, Chadderton Reserves v Heyside, Hindsford v East Manchester, Rochdale Sacred Heart v Manchester Central, Springhead v Stockport Georgians, Walshaw Sports v Dukinfield Town, Royton Town v Beechfield United.
Mark Bradshaw began his reign in charge of Curzon Ashton with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at struggling FC United of Manchester.
The Nash entered the game having not played since November 24, but despite the fresh legs and new sense of optimism, the club fell to a third consecutive defeat.
Curzon got off to the worst possible start at Broadhurst Park, falling a goal behind in the second minute. A cross whipped into the box was headed home by Josh Wallen.
The Rebels should have doubled their advantage shortly after, but Cameron Mason denied Tom Peers when the striker was through on goal.
The hosts continued to apply the pressure and put the ball in the net in the 23rd minute. However, Kurt Willoughby’s effort was ruled offside.
Curzon battled hard and thought they’d taken the lead 10 minutes later. However, Ryan Brooke’s overhead kick was ruled offside and the half drew to a close with United leading. Curzon played some decent football in the opening stages of the second half and created some promising chances. But they were dealt a blow in the 67th minute when Muhamad Ali was sent off for a nasty challenge on Michael Potts.
The hosts capitalised on the one man advantage and scored an important second with 15 minutes remaining. Willoughby was sent through on goal and slotted past the onrushing Mason.
Curzon rarely threatened and the hosts held out for the points, lifting them out of the relegation zone.
Stalybridge Celtic chairman Rob Gorski has outlined a number of changes as the club looks to avoid the threat of closure.
At an open meeting on Monday night, which was held in the Bower Fold sponsors’ lounge, Gorski issued a cold warning to those in attendance: “We have to change or the club will die.”
In a bid to allay those fears and prevent it from happening, Gorski has assembled a backroom team with vast experience in different sectors.
Wendy Mackie, who took on the role as chief executive a few months ago, is a local businesswoman with a keen eye to complete projects.
Born in Ridge Hill, Wendy left school and decided to pursue her two favourite passions: Project building and children.
With this in mind, she established a company called Works 4 You, which aims to help young people into work.
Chris Horrocks has also joined the club as commercial director.
A governor at St Peter’s Primary School, Stalybridge, Chris brings with him a wealth of experience, having previously worked for the police before moving into the media.
Chris has also worked in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen, working with all the major companies in crisis communications.
Wendy and Chris will work together to move the club forward, although both have been tasked with specialised jobs to save the club.
Wendy’s priority is to rebuild the bottom end of Bower Fold, which will include a new social club, new changing rooms and new toilets.
She also wants an artificial pitch at Bower Fold – similar to Hyde United’s – which will become the club’s main revenue stream.
Meanwhile, Chris will be attempting to persuade local businesses to invest in the club.
While the above ideas are exciting, they’re not exactly new to supporters. The plans were initially announced in February 2017, but following months of stale conversation with Tameside Council, which ultimately led to nothing, the ideas were shelved until now.
Having revived the project on Monday night, and with two key figures driving the club forward, Gorski believes Celtic has a promising future.
He said: “Some clubs come back as ‘AFCs’, but that’s not going to happen on my watch – it will not happen.
“I knew in my heart of hearts that we were going down the wrong path, but I’m not here everyday, and all the directors do a fantastic job, but maybe I had a different mindset than them.
“Now I’ve got the right people in. Why? Because if we continue to do this, we will continue to get the same results. We have to change things, and that’s why we’re taking a leap of faith and change in direction.
“But what can be the downside to it? We’ve gone from attracting 800 people to 300, and if we carry on it will go down to 150.
“I have two people now – Wendy and Chris – who are going to make sure that I get that change.
“We are going to get that plastic pitch come hell or high water.”
Gorski, who has been with the club for 16 years, took aim at Tameside Council for their lack of communication.
He added: “I must say we’re doing this without the help of Tameside Council.
“I’m very grateful for the ear of people at Tameside Council, but I’m afraid that’s all I got. We’re going solo on this, and we, as a board, will have to devise a business plan that makes it viable.
“Although it will help the first team, the academy and the juniors, it will also be rented out and that becomes a huge revenue stream.
“You only have to look at Curzon Ashton and Hyde United. It’s a massive revenue stream which means we can give the manager more money.
“Hyde outbid us for players, and it’s because they have something that can be utilised for 363 days a year. It’s a massive revenue stream for them and that’s what we’ve got to do to compete.”
As well as recruiting new players and competing in the market, Celtic will also be hoping to nurture raw talent in their academy set-up.
Simon Haworth, first team manager, has been confirmed as the new Head of Academy.
He will combine the two roles and officially takes up the position on January 1. Dave Sullivan leaves the role after two and a half years at the helm.
A full video of the meeting can be viewed on the Tameside Reporter Facebook page.
Callum Taylor (pictured with ball) got the match winning try with three minutes to go, the visitors were trailing 15-12 after tries from Jake Callaghan and Krystian Wieteska and a Louis Worthington conversion. A thrilling top-of-the-table clash sees Ashton five points clear of League D.
Eagle 1sts 17-5 Ashton 1sts
(Luke Turner got the try)
Ashton 2s 30-12 Broughton Park 2s
Paul Lane and Isaac Kelett scored tries to level the game at half-time. A first try for Josh Hanks broke the deadlock, Matt Baron and Richard Taylor touched down with Taylor adding a penalty and conversion for a good win in wet and muddy conditions.
Ashton U12s 10-30 Ashton on Mersey
Jacob Saies scored two tries.
Ashton U10s 15-5 Marple
Liam Quinlan, Dylan Roberts and William McCallum scored tries.
Ashton U10s 20-35 Wigan U10s
Kendal Grayson (2), Dylan Roberts and Harry Fox scored.
Ashtons U7s and U8s both played friendlies rounding off a good weekend’s rugby.
Pupils across Tameside have been treated to a flippin’ good talk from retired Olympic gymnast, Craig Heap.
The talks, which have been arranged by Tameside School Sports Partnership, have given Craig a chance to reflect on a memorable career and also inspire the next generation.
The 45-year-old, from Burnley, won 14 British championship titles; competed in five European and five World championships; and also become the first person in history to captain England to team Gold at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.
As well as delivering motivational talks to school pupils, Craig is often employed by the BBC as a gymnastics pundit, and his expertise will be used at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Following his talk at Waterloo Primary School in Ashton last week, Craig spoke to Reporter Sport and told us how much satisfaction he gets from inspiring the next generation. “There’s nothing better than talking about something that was a massive part of my life, and it gives me so much satisfaction to see the young faces sat there, looking up at the videos and thinking ‘wow, maybe I could do that’.
“If just one person in that entire room is inspired to go and do something different in their lives, then for me it’s a great thing.”
While Craig has enjoyed a distinguished career, he believes representing Great Britain at the 2000 Olympic Games, where he achieved his best score ever, was much better than all the rest. “For me, that’s something that will stick with me for the rest of my life” he said.
“Not many people can say they’re an Olympian, which sounds pretty cool from a lad from Burnley.”
Craig’s journey to becoming one of the most respected gymnasts hasn’t come without its costs.
In fact, he has endured some tough times and even been forced to contend with a number of barriers and doubters. “I think as we go through life, overcoming barriers is really important, because it builds resilience and determination – something that young people need – and I think it’s great to talk to them about accepting mistakes” he said.
“I’ve had 13 operations throughout my career, so I’m a bit like the Bionic Man.
“For me the worst part was breaking my left hand in two places, seven weeks before the Olympic Games. I think at any other time that would have been fine, but because it was so close to the Olympic Games it was unsettling. That’s where my support network came into force. We had to find other ways of keeping fit, but also keeping weight off my hand.
“It’s also important to have a great support network around you, whether it’s family, friends or carers. When things don’t go to plan, it’s important to have someone put an arm around your shoulder and encourage you to keep going. There are some pretty dark days in sport, whether it’s operations you’re having, injury layoffs, or even not being selected for competitions. I think those people are just as important as the coaches and teachers that are trying to help us reach our potential.”
Despite being retired for 16 years, Craig has retained his love for sport and keeping active in general.
And he is hoping his son, who was born 12 months ago, will follow the same path in the future. “I struggle to get to the gym at the moment, but for me it’s something that’s really important” he said.
“I like to go to the gym four times a week, and I’ve also started playing five-a-side. I’m not very good at that, and the other players can’t believe how bad I am on my feet to say I was an Olympic gymnast.
“Sport is something that’s really important, not just for your physical wellbeing but for your mental wellbeing as well. The endorphins that you get from physical activity is something I need. It will always be part of my life and hopefully something that I can instil into my son.”
Oldham Athletic revived their playoff hopes with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Crewe Alexandra.
Two goals in the first half from captain Peter Clarke and Chris O’Grady gave the Latics a much-deserved win at Gresty Road.
Following the game, manager Frankie Bunn praised his side’s performance and described it as ‘excellent’. He added: “We came out the blocks, we pressed high, we were energetic, and we had quality which was from the goalkeeper all the way through.
“For the first 15 minutes of the second half it was more of the same and then I thought we saw out the game in a professional manner.
“It was the perfect performance, we kept a clean sheet and we won.
“It’s probably the best I’ve seen us play in a first half in difficult conditions which we handled well throughout.”
Backed by a healthy following of 1,027, Latics started the game brightly and took the lead inside 17 minutes. After driving forward with the ball, Clarke hit an effort from 30 yards which nestled into the top left corner.
Crewe had a number of chances to equalise shortly after, but on-loan goalkeeper Daniel Iversen made a terrific save to deny Shaun Miller from close range, before the Dane also saved a Charlie Kirk effort.
Latics were undeterred by the danger and doubled their lead just before the interval. O’Grady found space on the edge of the box and turned his marker before curling a beautiful effort into the bottom corner.
The hosts started the second-half brightly in search of an equaliser, but they were denied once again by the heroics of Iverson, who came charging off his line to deny substitute Owen Dale.
Latics could – and probably should – have scored a third to put the game beyond sight. However, when through on goal, Sam Surridge drew a fine stop from goalkeeper Ben Garratt.
The visitors were untroubled for the rest of the game and managed to hold out for all three points.
It took Celtic seventy minutes to get into the game, by which time they were two goals down.
In intermittent driving rain, Stafford started with intent. Though Liam Tongue’s free kick went close, it was Stafford that were getting closer. A good cross in from the left wing by Joe Cuff found former Celt, Theo Bailey-Jones, for a free header than he looped over Jake Turner for the opening goal.
Neil Kengni went close to grabbing an equaliser, but his driven shot was blocked by the leg of Sam Coulson to deny Celtic a way back into the game, whilst Joshua Solomon Davies did the same to deny Cuff, and Chris Smalley blocked Jake Charles as Stafford looked for a second goal. Turner pulled off a superb save when Andrai Jones got a free header from a corner, keeping Celtic in the game as the first period came to a close.
Stafford continued their form when the second half began, with Celtic chasing shadows. The second goal was contested by Turner, who maintained he prevented Luke Jones’s bundled effort off Bailey-Jones’s deep cross from crossing the line. It was given, making Celtic’s task even harder.
However, loan signing Andrew Scott seemed to be growing into the game, and by the seventy mark he changed the tide of the game, an optimistic thirty-yard shot when he was given too much space. The shot flew narrowly wide but it seemed to give Celtic a confidence boost they’d been lacking. Smart got another chance, twenty-five yards out, he fired in a cracking shot that flew into the top corner, former Celtic keeper, George Sykes-Kenworthy unable to reach it.
Ross Dent went close to equalising from a corner, but it took until stoppage time for the breakthrough to come, when Solomon Davies put the ball down the line and Neil Kengni knocked it past another former Celt, Josh Green, to go clear on the Rangers goal. Sykes-Kenworthy came out of his box, but dithered. The Rangers’ keeper was left with an impossible choice, but Kengni gave him no time to decide with a perfect lob, up and over with no chance for any one to stop it from sailing into the back of the net.
It was a fantastic finish after a game that took Celtic far too long to get going in.
Ashton slipped to their third successive league defeat against their in-form hosts who duly won for the fifth successive match. With the Robins having picked up 3 injuries on Tuesday James Jones was making his full debut at centre back with Matt Regan switching to left back and it was Blyth making the early running as Robbie Dale’s incisive pass was just miscontrolled by strike partner Daniel Maguire before being cleared.
Maguire’s touch was then too strong after Jarrett Rivers had retrieved the ball from the by line and Dale’s next cross was just cleared by Liam Goulding after Tom Stead had been robbed and Sean Reid’s dangerous cross was also cleared as Spartans increased the pressure. At the other end Ashton won a corner which saw Bradley Jackson’s shot blocked and Sam Sheridan clear the crossbar and Reid then put a shot past the right hand post from 25 yards. Reid’s touch then saw Maguire practically miss an open goal with the aid of a deflection and Maguire then turned inside and saw his effort come back of the left hand post. The visitors reached half time still level thanks to Luke Pilling who pulled off a point blank save from Jordan Watson from Dale’s set up before Watson headed Oliver’s cross past the far post.
The play continued towards Ashton’s goal after the break as Dale’s cross incredibly beat Aaron Chalmers and somehow ran through Maguire’s legs at the far post but within 2 minutes Dale got the better of Goulding out wide and saw his cross converted from close in by Reid. Goulding then reached the by line at the other end and saw his cross helped over by Anghel before the same player made space but fired past the far post.
Maguire’s cross following a quick break was then amazingly helped over the top by Reid and a through ball saw Tomsett just crowded out and Maguire then beat Chalmers and put a tremendous left foot effort just over with Pilling beaten. Maguire then put a fierce shot into the side netting but with 3 minutes left a quick break saw Rivers and Maguire combine to put Dale in for a calm finish and after Maguire had hit the post again Sam Sheridan was dismissed somewhat mysteriously after receiving a second yellow card.