Saturday’s football at Bower Fold featured Vintage Celtic walking football team playing a friendly against Bury Relics prior to the Celtic versus Barwell game. This was surprisingly only the fourth friendly we have played, the others being against Leeds Titans (twice) and Priory Tennis Club.
Both teams had bare squads of six players. A few of our Celtic regulars were missing due to being in different parts of the country, unavailability and what I find most disappointing, four or five of them preferring to watch Premiership football rather than play and support the team.
With heavy rain forecast, we were fortunate to avoid the worst of the downpour and thanks to Gym Etc, our nearby neighbours, we had changing and showering facilities, due to the main Celtic team and Barwell using the Bower Fold dressing rooms.
The game itself was evenly matched and despite our missing players Celtic took the lead from a fine strike from Lee Taylor. Derek Drabble added another one from distance to make it 2-0 to Celtic, and it has to be said this did not reflect the play and scoring chances.
Bury Relics had an equal amount of possession with Celtic and had a good few scoring chances which were well saved by our 72 year old keeper Mike Kieran. Just before half time the Relics scored with a great strike to make it 2-1.
The second half saw the Bury side equalise with another fine shot to make the score 2-2. Paul O’Neil added another one for Celtic but it was no surprise when the Relics equalised again to make the final score 3-3 and to be honest this was a fair result as no side was dominant.
The Relics were far from what their name suggests and will soon rise from Division 3 of the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 60’s League.
As for Vintage Celtic, now I have had time to reflect somewhat, we were very poor and that’s being generous. The marking was non existent at times and we allowed the Bury players far too much room and were caught on a two to one situation a few times. Our passing, usually top class, was nowhere near our usual standard. We lost our shape on numerous occasions, which resulted in goals for the opposition.
We looked a million miles off the team that won the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 60’s Spring League , albeit with a few different players. If we play like that in the following months our twenty three game unbeaten record with only one goal conceded will certainly go down the pan.
Some say I am being over critical but I can only report it as I saw it. I have to say if we had had subs available, they would certainly have been involved. If the lads were being honest with themselves, I am sure they will agree that this was a poor performance from a Celtic team. In the video below, our marking at the start is poor, then we unnecessarily give the ball away at 15 seconds. This leads to four Bury players being unmarked, one eventually in a good shooting position on the left, which he takes full advantage of to score an excellent goal.
These comments are not taking anything away from the Bury lads, who passed the ball well, found space when not in possession, scored some terrific goals and generally showed what a good team they are going to be.
Thanks to our lads who did support the occasion, it’s appreciated, Colin Cuthbert, Derek Drabble, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, Lee Taylor and Mike Taylor. Also a big thanks to Brian Coll, our usual play maker, who unavailable with a dodgy knee, stepped in to give an excellent refereeing performance.
The game itself was played in a good friendly spirit, with little physicality. I hope the Bury Relics lads enjoyed the occasion and we look forward to the return fixture when it can be arranged.
Thanks to our Community Development Officer, Mike Smith for his efforts on the day. At least Celtic beat Barwell 4-2 to gain another valuable three points.
If you disagree, or perhaps even agree with this post, then please leave a comment below. You are certainly entitled to your own view of the day’s proceedings.