Taking a look at County v Stalybridge Celtic


Saturday's fixture goes back 93 years to the days when Stalybridge had their brief spell in the Football League. Meetings would have gone back even further, as County were supposed to play their first team in the Cheshire Senior Cup and were drawn to play Celtic in 1912. However, County were fined for playing a weekend team in the first round and pulled out of the competition in protest. After the solid start to the season the game could give County the chance to put pressure on the leading two teams, although modern matches against Celtic always seem to be a bit of a struggle, even the high scoring ones.


County reserves were playing Celtic in the 1912-13 season as our visitors first team were fellow members of the Central League. But the first clash between the senior sides came in the 1921-22 season. Having been relegated to the newly formed Football League Division Three (North) County were on their way to the title. They beat Celtic fairly easily, going 2-0 up in the first five minutes thanks to Steele and O'Kane. The game was more or less wrapped up on 20 minutes with O'Kane's second. The line-ups back in 1922 were:

Saturday 14 January 1922
Football League : Division Three (North)

Stockport County (3) 4 (Steele, O'Kane J 2, Waterall)
Stalybridge Celtic (0) 0 Att. 12,000 - Ref. CT Lutwyche (Aston)

County: Harry Hardy, Billy Richardson, Arthur Layton, Albert Walmsley, Westby Heath, Albert Waterall, Harry Crossthwaite, Ernie Gault, Gilbert Steele, Joe O'Kane, Charlie Jones

Stalybridge Cel: Tommy Lonsdale, John Holt, Billy Dennis, Jimmy Carney, Herbert Tyler, Harry Lockett, Harry Stafford, Jimmy Thompson, William Simmons, Arthur Gee, John Ellis

In more recent years we first met in the FA trophy - when Staly held the Hatters at EP, before becoming the first team to knock us out of Non-league clubs FA Cup. The full set of results at EP are shown below, with links to All Things Stockport County match reports where they exist.

1921-22 FL 14 Jan 4-0
1922-23 CM 25 Sep 5-1
2011-12 FT 10 Dec 2-2
2012-13 FQ 20 Oct 5-3
2013-14 NN 8 Feb 2-0 [match report]
2014-15 NN 7 Feb 4-3 [match report] prog cover shown right

County score given first. CM - Cheshire Medal, FL - Football League, FQ - FA Cup Qualifying Round, FT - FA Trophy, NN - National League North

So an unbeaten home record but as always nothing can be taken for granted against Celtic. After all County were minutes from losing last season but somehow turned it round to claim a welcome three points.


Celtic come to County on the back of successive 3-1 defeats, and lie 17th in the National League North table. Whilst they have only recorded one win so far, that coming in their third game, 1-0 versus Gloucester City, there is a bit of a warning to County in that Celtic have scored in every game so far, with each goal coming from a different player. However, they are still looking for their first point away from home in 2015-16.


There were plenty of cross-connections last season but all these players have now moved on to pastures new. County did sign on one man with Celtic previous,in Glenn Rule, who will be aiming to follow up last weekends impressive strike with plenty more. Glenn was at Bower Fold in 2010-11 before starting his four year stint at Airbus UK Broughton.

Celtic have added one former County trainee in Alex Johnson who played against us last season whilst on the book of Guiseley. Danny Gregson did join Stalybridge from County in the summer, but shortly afterwards he was offered a great full-time coaching opportunity. Danny left to join Fleetwood Town's Academy set up which was being restructured following the release of their previous senior coaches, including ex-County man Craig Madden.


Whilst nothing to compare to County's recruitment campaign, Celtic have had a busy summer as manager Liam Watson, who took over late last season, has tried to adjust his squad to avoid a relegation battle this time around. There are just five men who have previously played against County for Celtic. As well as Johnson, the manager has recruited another player from one of last season's promoted teams, bringing in Tony McMillan as Bower Fold's new keeper. 

Tony McMillan

According to the FA Disciplinary website Celtic have picked up 12 bookings so far, . , as against County's 14. No Celtic player has more than two yellow cards

" " "
NameApp.GlsPosKnown Past Clubs (may not be complete)
Callum Hill 0..0 G -
Tony McMillan 5..0 G Preston NE, Lancaster C, Burscough, Runcorn Halton, Southport, Altrincham, Barrow
Danny Wisdom 0..0 LB Kendal T, Northwich Vic, Kendal T, Skelmersdale U
Jack Higgins 5..1 CD Crewe Alex, Boston U,  Rushden & Diamonds,  Daventry T(L), Hemel Hempstead T(L), Rossendale U, Clitheroe, Ashton U
Matty Hughes 5..0 CD Rochdale, Glasgow Cel, Fleetwood T, Colwyn Bay(L), AFC Fylde, Stalybridge Cel
Matt Regan 0..0 D Nottingham For, Tamworth(L), Tamworth, Hednesford T(L), Worcester C(L)
John Shaw 5..1 D Marine, Witton A
Oliver Crowley 0..0 D Fleetwood T
Peter Wylie 5..0 D Blackburn Rov, Skelmersdale U
Alec Mudimu 0..0 M/D Sheffield Wed, L to Radcliffe Bor(L)
Arron Chalmers 4+1..0 M Oldham Ath, Macclesfield T, Hibernian, Mossley, Droylsden(L), Woodley Sp, Southport, Droylsden(L), New Mills, Curzon Ashton, Ashton U, Hyde, Northwich Vic
Aidan Chippendale 5..0 M Huddersfield T, York C(L), Accrington S, Bury, Chester(L), Inverness CT, AFC Fylde, Curzon A
Bohan Dixon 5..1 M ex-Accrington S, Lincoln C, Northwich Victoria, Salford C
Adam Farrell 3+2..1 M Chorley, Lancaster C, Kendal T, AFC Fylde, AFC Telford U
Alex Johnson 3+2..0 M COUNTY, Myerscough Col, Lancaster C, Ashton Ath, Clitheroe, FC Halifax T, Guiseley
Cesaire Lingouba 0+1..0 M -
Dale Wright 5..0 M Caernarfon T, Skelmersdale U, Prescot CablesWarrington T, Skelmersdale U, Northwich Vic, Marine, Droylsden, Skelmersdale U
Ben McKenna 1+2..0 W Carlisle U, Annan Ath(L), Workington
Chris Simm 2+2..1 F Leigh Gen, Wrexham, Hyde U, Southport, Chorley(L), Chester, Bangor C, Airbus UK Broughton, Witton A, Skelmersdale U, AFC Telford U(DR), Warrington T, Chorley
Steven Tames 2+3..0 F Prescot Cables, Southport, Vauxhall Mot(L), Vauxhall Mot, Hyde


One of last season's former County men appearing in the Stalybridge line-up was Liam Dickinson, who scored that memorable goal, at Wembley for the Hatters against Rochdale, to clinch our most recent promotion. Sold to Derby during the following summer, his career has stuttered ever since, His return to EP a couple of years ago never really got going. He had a slightly better time back full time training under Keith Briggs at Celtic, and then helped Guiseley to their play-off win, coming off the bench in the final to play an impressive part in their turn-around at Chorley.

Scorer of another memorable goal or two was John Hardiker. County had already been relegated in March 2002 but they still kept up their bogey club status in matches with Manchester City. Another future County player, Jon Macken, had put City in front in the first half. With 5 minutes left Hardiker scored an equaliser, and then gave the County fans at least one great memory from that torrid season with the winner with the final whistle imminent.

Brian McCord was one of a number of former Derby County players Danny Bergara brought to County. After signing from Barnsley he was creating a good impression in the midfield and looked set for a lengthy career with County. That plan ended due to a badly thought out attempted tackle at Swansea's old Vetch Field ground in March 1993. The resultant injuries effectively ended his career. Many months later, and after a successful court case against the player concerned, Celtic was one of the the club's at which Brian tried to make a comeback.


It's still a little early to see any real pattern in the League table although this didn't stop Telford removing their manager last weekend as they remain bottom of the table with only one goal all season. Of last season promotion chasing sides Chorley have finally shown some signs of life, whilst AFC Fylde - who County meet on Monday- have put together some good performances since the their early slip-up. The side vanquished by County three weeks ago, Boston United, are also moving towards the top places. Solihull Moors are again scoring for fun, their top spot being built on a 14 goal foundation, whilst Worcester have a more difficult propensity to deal with. Four red cards in five games, it's hard enough grinding out results in National League North without that added hindrance.The positions directly affecting where County will lie after Saturday's games are:

1 Solihull Moors 5 2 0 0 6 0 2 1 0 8 3 11 13
2 Nuneaton T 5 2 1 0 3 1 2 0 0 4 2 4 13
3 COUNTY 5 1 1 0 3 2 2 1 0 4 2 3 11
4 Tamworth 5 2 0 0 3 1 1 2 0 3 2 3 11
5 Harrogate T 5 2 1 0 5 2 1 0 1 2 2 3 10
6 AFC Fylde 5 2 1 0 5 2 1 0 1 2 4 1 10

The other fixtures for these top six teams are: Chorley v Harrogate Town, Curzon Ashton v AFC Fylde, Solihull Moors v Alfreton Town, Tamworth v Nuneaton Town. There are now three men, Darryl Knights (Solihull Moors), Ashley Sammons (Corby T) and Dayle Southwell (Boston U), sharing the top spot in the goalscorers list with 5 each.


County recorded a 1-1 with Hyde Untied last week in a home game switched to Atherton Collieries ground. Tonight (Friday) they are in action again when they travel to New Mills for a 7.45 kick-off. The next fixture on the Lancashire League website is shown as Sunday 6th September. So those of you not busy working , or running, in the half marathon can head to Ashton Untied for some Sunday football. . The lesson from the Hyde fixture is try and check with someone at the club - or perhaps better still the opposition club - before committing to traveling to these games.

Ian Watts


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