National Tournament 2016 – Close But No Cigar
In the National Tournament 2016 over 60’s category, Greater Manchester County section, Vintage Celtic had a frustrating day, winning one and losing one in a 3 team round robin.
The 3 teams in the National Tournament 2016 Greater Manchester Over 60’s section were Rochdale Strollers, Vintage Celtic and Wigan Walkers. The draw was made to see which team played 2 games on the trot and Celtic’s name came out of the hat. Rochdale Strollers were the first opponents and Celtic started brightly enough with some excellent possession and passing play. It looked as though this game would finish with a cricket score but some excellent goalkeeping and off target shooting kept the score 0-0 for the first 5 minutes.
It was possible to count on one hand how many times the Strollers were in the Celtic half during the game. Of course as usually happens in games like these, they had one shot all the game and although Mike, the Celtic keeper, admitted he should have had it, it rolled in the net.
A shot from Paul O’Neil hit the bar and bounced over the line and out again but the referee failed to spot it. Constant pressure from Celtic failed to get the goal or goals needed and from here it was almost an impossible task with only 3 points to play for.
Second up and almost immediately were Wigan Walkers and a similar percentage of possession was seen. However this time Celtic had found their shooting boots and goals from Paul O’Neil and a delightful chip by Brian Coll saw the score finish 2-0 to Celtic. In actual fact the score could have been greater and a 4 or 5 goal margin would have done Celtic justice.
Now we were relying on the Wigan side to beat the Strollers and despite hitting the bar they failed to do so, the score finishing in a 0-0 draw. So the Rochdale Strollers were through by a 1 point margin. They readily admitted that Celtic were the better team on the day and deserved to go through but if you don’t convert your chances then that’s what happens. We genuinely wish the Strollers good luck in the Regional Finals but can’t help feeling it should have been us going through.
Thanks to all the lads who played on the day, Brian Coll, Derek Drabble, Mike Kieran, Paul O’Neil, John Parkinson, Pete Smith, Tony Wade and Barry Whitmore.