January Cheshire Walking Football League – Celtic Runners Up
In the January Cheshire Walking Football League, the final session of the Winter tournament, Vintage Celtic finished in a creditable runners up position.
The first game in the January Cheshire Walking Football League was against Nantwich Barony who Celtic had beaten 1-0 in both the November and December sessions. On this occasion Celtic started well with some excellent passing and movement, especially down the left side of the pitch. Despite Celtic having the majority of possession, Barony took the lead against the run of play.
A well taken goal by Paul O’Neil levelled the score 4 minutes later but despite Celtic’s constant pressure Barony held out for a 1-1 draw. The Barony keeper was the busiest player on the pitch, which was a good indication of how the match should have finished, with Celtic unfortunately dropping 2 points.
The second game in the January Cheshire Walking Football League saw Celtic up against the worthy league leaders Northgate Strollers. In the November session the Strollers had beaten Celtic 2-0 and in the December session had come out 1-0 winners. This time Celtic drew the match 0-0 and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when a Strollers player ventured into the box. The referee decided, unfairly it must be said, that the players momentum had been the cause of his intrusion. Although the game could have gone either way Celtic felt hard done by by this decision.
In the final game of the January Cheshire Walking Football League Vintage Celtic’s opponents were a strong Macclesfield Town, a team who had only entered the competition in December. A 0-0 draw had ensued in December’s game and this time the teams again couldn’t be separated.
Celtic took the lead from a great Brian Coll goal and again were left embarrassed when poor marking left a Macclesfield player on his own to equalise. The game finished 1-1 and on the day Celtic came away with 3 points from 3 draws.
Despite gaining 6 points in November, 4 in December (an extra 3 were added due to the non-appearance of Helbsy Old Boys) and only 3 in the January Cheshire Walking Football League Celtic’s play had improved on each occasion. This indicates the strength of the opposition in the Premier Division. If any criticism could be made of the Celtic team, then poor marking on 3 or 4 occasions let them down and was the cause of the 2 goals against them. Some lovely crisp passing was seen on the day, perhaps spoilt by holding on to the ball too long but as was mentioned at the inquest – “it’s better to keep the ball than give it away.” Although the Strollers and Town teams probably had better movement than Celtic, who’s average was 63, it must be remembered that their average age was probably 6-8 years younger.
All in all the Winter Cheshire Walking Football League was a great success, well organised and refereed, with some excellent teams entering it and we all look forward to the Spring league starting in March. Thanks to the lads who turned out on the day, Brian Coll, Derek Drabble, Mike Kieran, Gary Morris, Bill Murney, Paul O’Neil, Ian Parker, Barry Whitmore and Keith Whitmore.