Manchester League October 2017
The Manchester League October 2017 session was played in bright sunshine at the Heywood Sport Village with fourteen teams in three divisions.
Vintage Celtic, unaccustomed to having a big squad started the day with eight players and a good job too as we found out in the final match. After four 0-0 draws in the September session, Celtic found themselves in fourth spot in the Division 1 table, a position not familiar to our lads.
First up in this Manchester League October 2017 session were the strong Chadderton FC WF team. An opportunist goal from Paul O’Neil put Celtic a goal up inside the first few minutes. Despite having a few good chances to increase the lead it stayed at 1-0 at the final whistle.
Our old friends and rivals at the top table, Rochdale AFC Strollers were next in line and not unusually it again ended in a 0-0 draw. In all the league games between these two sides four games have ended 0-0 and the other two in 1-0 victories for Celtic.
The other Rochdale team Rochdale Striders were Celtic’s third opponents in this Manchester League October 2017 session and a further two goals from Paul O’Neil made sure of a comfortable 2-0 victory for Celtic.
The final game saw Celtic up against the Nash Amblers, our neighbours from Tameside. Despite some good passing and movement from both sides, neither could break the deadlock and it finished in a 0-0 draw. The game was marred by an elbow, or was it an arm, in Eric Williams face which saw him having to finish playing for the day due to a heavy nosebleed. Not having seen the incident we will go with the decision to call it an accident.
The Celtic injury curse, we already had Barry Whitmore out of action due to a muscle strain and Brian Coll out for the foreseeable future, again struck with a vengeance, as Keith Whitmore, with a calf muscle injury, joined Eric on the sidelines, leaving us once again with only six fit players.
All in all it was a good squad performance gathering eight points to add to the four in September and leave Celtic in second place in the Division 1 table. It’s going to be a difficult task to overall Rochdale AFC Strollers, who lead by six points and also have a plus four goal difference advantage but I am sure the lads will give it their all to try and retain their championship.
New ‘lad’ Colin Cuthbert, a mere 74 years old, was a welcome addition to the squad and by his own admission it will take him a while to adjust to our playing style but having said that he did well in his first outings with us. Keith Whitmore, returning after a long layoff, was impressive in midfield, finding space and making some good movement. Pity about the goal chance though Keith, hopefully the ball will return to earth one day.
Peter Thomas, of Fleetwood Town Flyers, who normally brings the cakes for the after tournament brew, was collecting for the McMillan Nurses and thanks to our lads who donated the tournament subs of £60 to the cause, he raised a total of £135.92.
Thanks to all the lads who played on Friday, Colin Cuthbert, Derek Drabble, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, Mike Taylor, Tony Wade, Keith Whitmore and Eric Williams. Nobody let us down and the squad is looking strong, especially at the back. If we can avoid further injuries, we have the makings of a decent over 60’s team.
We have now gone twenty three games in this league without defeat, conceding only one goal in the process. A fine record by anyone’s standards, let’s hope we can add to it.
Finally, a big thanks to the lads who turned out at Bower Fold for the Celtic parade. Afterwards we all enjoyed an excellent performance from the Stalybridge Celtic FC team, with a 4-1 win over Matlock Town.
A report on the Greater Manchester Walking Football Over 60’s October session of the Autumn League is HERE.