STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2, FC UNITED 3
Paul Ennis returned to Stalybridge Celtic to haunt his former club who were beaten 3-2 at home by FC United in BetVictor Northern Premier League, premier division.
Celtic were ahead and on course to make it three straight league wins until substitute Ennis entered the fray nine minutes into the second period and transformed his side’s fortunes.
Ennis scored twice and set up the other goal as he almost single-handedly steered FC United to victory.
But spare a thought for Celtic striker Darius Osei who scored twice but ended up on the losing side in front of a season’s best crowd of 1,188 at Bower Fold where an estimated two thirds were visiting fans.
Celtic could not have made a better start taking a second-minute lead when former keeper Paddy Wharton spilled Declan Walker’s free kick giving Osei a simple tap-in.
Celtic ought to have built on their lead in the opening half when Osei had a goal ruled out for handball and Craig Hobson, clean through on goal, fired wide when he looked certain to score.
Wharton also saved well to deny Hobson and Osei.
FC United also had their chances in the opening period when Celtics’ on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Fojticek made a couple of decent stops.
Nathan Valentine and Walker went close for Celtic early in the second half before the visitors equalised only three minutes after Ennis’ arrival.
His diagonal pass split the Celtic defence as Tunde Owolabi rolled a shot low past Fojticek.
FC United went ahead midway through the half after Fojticek made a complete mess dealing with a back pass as Owolabi set up Ennis whose shot went in off the post.
Celtic equalised with nine minutes left when Osei headed home Walker’s free kick from six yards, his fourth goal in four games since the former Oldham Athletic striker returned to the club where he launched his career.
They almost went ahead moments later when Nathan Valentine headed Walker’s corner against the upright.
In an enthralling end-to-end match, Alex Curran struck the Celtic post and substitute Jack Lenehan’s free header flashed wide.
FC United snatched victory in the 90th minute when Ennis fired over a free kick from the left which eluded everybody and crept in past Fojticek at the far post.