Andy Morrell picked an unchanged eleven to face struggling Stalybridge at The Lamb looking to his squad to make it eight league games unbeaten. Last season, the away fixture versus Celtic proved to be the final straw for Dale Belford, while the home game heralded the twelfth of the twelve unbeaten run for Morrell.
The visitors got the game underway with Tamworth attacking the Meadow Street End in the first half. The ball bobbled around the box on 3 and Farrell miss hit his shot making it easy for Belshaw, but Strong was on the floor following the build up play, having taken the brunt of a hard challenge in the left back position. Johnson went down under the challenge of a Lambs defensive sandwich on 6, just outside the area in the Celtic right channel and Chippendale’s freekick went into the wall, but Chambers picked up the loose ball and forced a corner on the right. Strong’s left sided cross was touched away from Newton on 9 for a right sided corner which Green headed at keeper McMillan. Tames flashed a well directed header over the bar from the edge of the box on 15 and after a foul on Durrell on the right on 18, Green float the ball into the box and Dyer’s header found McMillan but didn’t really test him. Neither side was able to get a grip on the play and this resulted in high or long balls out of the Celtic defence which were cleared by The Lambs in a similar if not unwilling fashion. Tames shot took a deflection off the Lambs defence for a right sided Celtic corner, on 32, but Hughes touch took the ball high over the target. Durrell had the ball at his feet following a good knock down from Dyer on 35 but the former’s attempt at a curling shot was blocked. Celtic captain Hughes was booked on 37 for protesting against a not given hand ball, and Durrell’s freekick into the danger area was taken by McMillan. Dixon struck from distance on 39 but it was straight at Belshaw and allowed the Lambs to push upfield. After a Strong run down the left, Taylor shot for goal from the left diagonal on 43 but McMillan was perfectly placed. Then, in added time at the end of the half, Dixon decided to take a shot from 35 yards and beat Belshaw with a belter into the top left corner to put Celtic in the driving seat at the break.
HT: Tamworth 01 Stalybridge Celtic
Tamworth restarted the game, attacking the Castle End and went in search of an early strike to get back into the game, but on 52 Higgins went close for the visitors with a glanced header which went past the far left post. On 59, The Lambs won a corner from a Newton blocked shot but play was halted for a foul in the box and Morrell made two changes. After the substitutions, Celtic took two long throws from the right and the first was cleared but the second was put into the back of the net, only to be ruled out by an already flagged offside against Johnson. Johnson was pulled back after running onto a header through from Tames on 63 and Chippendale’s deadball was taken by Belshaw. Tomassen pulled down Johnson on 68 as the visiting player made headway for the box to set up Chippendale but his freekick went wide of the right hand post. A foul by Smith 25 yards from goal on 72 set up Farrell with the freekick and his shot got through the wall before going wide of the left hand upright. The Lambs best chance so far fell to Newton on 73 but he snatched at his shot of the bouncing ball on the edge of the area . Morrell swapped himself for Newton before the next move and he almost finished it with a goal but it took a deflection past the post for a corner on 75. The flag kick came to nothing and when Celtic broke forwards Green was booked for a foul on the halfway line. Stalybridge enjoyed a good spell of possession for a short period during which Tamworth were forced to defend strongly. Hubbins nearly found Dyer with a teasing cross from the left on 86 but the Celtic defender got there first and headed it away. Morrell nearly chipped the keeper from outside the area on 88 but McMillan was able to catch it at full stretch and as seven minutes added time was shown. Dyer nodded the ball down for Morrell and he struck it first time but the ball went high over the target. Preston picked up a yellow card on 92 but there was no foul when Morrell tumbled in the box on 93. Morrell headed down for Hubbins on 95 but his shot was cleared off the line and Green struck the inside of the post with a 20 yard strike. The equaliser eventually did come though with Dyer heading home at the near post to send the crowd wild and the final whistle blew on another point and eight unbeaten. (1-1)
Tamworth Belshaw, Burns, Strong, Taylor (Hubbins 59), Tomassen, Preston, Durrell (Smith 60), Clarke, Dyer, Green (c.), Newton (Morrell 74) Subs: Warlow, Davies