Two red cards marred the Bank Holiday clash between Stalybridge and Chorley at Bower Fold writes Elliott Walsh.
Referee William Smallwood sent off former Chorley duo Adam Farrell and Chris Simm before Josh Hine scored the only game of the game.
Looking for a positive start to make amends for their defeat to Harrogate at the weekend it was Chorley who started the game on the front foot. Josh Hine, Marcus Carver and Lewis Guy lined up in a front three and worked hard, showing some neat touches. And just like at the weekend the Magpies had a penalty shout turned down. In just the second minute Lewis Guy appeared to be brought down by Higgins, but the referee waved play on.
Hine could have had two goals early on. He narrowly headed over following a Mark Ross delivery into the area. The second opportunity came from cross from the byline towards the winger but he was unable to put the effort on target. All the chances in the game seemed to fall to Hine. Carver and Guy's link up was clever and drew out the Celtic defence before playing Hine in, however he sliced his effort wide of the goal.
Stalybridge came back into the game after their initial defensive display. Chris Simm tested Sam Ashton following a winding run, but the keeper was equal to the shot. Aiden Chippendale played a few testing deliveries into the area without being able to find the head of a Stalybridge player. And Celtic were almost made to pay for the missed chances just moments later when Marcus Carver won a penalty after a foul by Danny Wisdom. Hine stepped up to take the spot kick. Tony McMilan made himself big and produced a fairly easy save to his right.
The first of two red cards in the game came soon after the missed penalty. Andy Teague and Chris Simm went up for a header, but the latter was deemed to use an elbow and received his marching orders. The second followed soon after the restart. Adam Farrell saw red for a dangerous foul on midfielder Jake Cottrell, only in the team after Chris Doyle pulled up in the warm up.
Despite a now two man advantage Chorley found it difficult to break down a stubborn Celtic backline. The Tameside club had settled for a point and attempted to hold on to it for the remaining 35 minutes.
James Dean did have the ball in the back of the net following a defensive mix-up from Higgins and McMilan, but the referee's assistant saw an infringement and flagged for a free kick, denying the target man his first goal of the season.
When the game looked to be petering out towards a draw, Marcus Carver's quick feet allowed himself time and space in the box to cross for Hine, who made no mistake from six yards in front of the travelling supporters. There was still time for Celtic manager Liam Watson to be sent to the stand for dissent, and from his elevated view point he nearly witnessed late substitute Alex Johnson steal a point. The striker was unable to beat Ashton who remained firm to deny the former Guiseley man.
Starting XI: Sam Ashton, Mark Ross, Adam Dodd, Andy Teague, Keiran Charnock, Jake Cottrell, Josh Hine, Dale Whitham, Marcus Carver, Andy Bond, Lewis Guy
Subs: James Dean (Cottrell, 57), Darren Stephenson (Guy, 58), Sam Sheridan (Dodd, 77), Paul Jarvis, Chris Doyle
Goal: JOSH HINE (84)
Red Cards: Chris Simm (), Adam Farrell ()