STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 0, BUXTON 4
Following the earthquake came aftershocks with a heavy defeat for Stalybridge Celtic against Buxton.
And with one point from their first four matches, Celtic are rooted in last place in the premier division of the Northern Premier League.
The earthquake came seven days earlier when Celtic lost at home to Longridge Town, a team two divisions below them in the football pyramid which must have registered seven on the Richter scale – not quite nine which is deemed as a catastrophe.
Manager Simon Haworth had to rebuild from the debris and recriminations – there were no punches pulled in the Buxton matchday programme when the dirty washing was aired in public.
Chairman and majority shareholder Rob Gorski, who missed the Longridge match after contracting Covid-19, described the first-half display as “utterly unacceptable to this football club”.
Haworth was equally forthright in his notes, saying: “I thought we were awful in the first half. The lads let themselves down, let the club down, let myself and the staff down.”
Press officer Keith Trudgeon wrote in his column about a “big, black cloud of negativity hanging over Bower Fold” and described the defeat as a “debacle”.
Howarth made wholesale changes – seven in total – with only goalkeeper Tom Stewart, midfielders Scott Sephton and Callum Harris and forward Jonathan Ustabasi keeping their places.
The changes didn’t make a jot of a difference as Celtic, with confidence torn to shreds, were second best and outmuscled by a stronger and more experienced Bucks’ side.
James Walshaw struck the frame of the Celtic goal before Buxton went ahead in the 12th minute through former Italy U18 and U20 international Diego De Girolamo.
The former first-team player for Sheffield United struck from close range after Stewart, under pressure from Walshaw, dropped a high cross.
It became 2-0 midway through the half when Walshaw headed a free kick back across the face of goal for centre-back Josh Granite to finish.
Walshaw also had an effort deflected narrowly wide as Buxton were in complete control.
Celtic, in fairness, finished the half strongly as Lewis Salmon headed narrowly over and Nic Evangelinos’ free kick forced a decent save from Tommy Taylor.
Buxton added a third goal on the hour, a tap-in from Warren Clarke following an almighty goalmouth scramble when Celtic failed to clear danger.
Sam Wedgebury and Walshaw had chances to pile on the agony before the fourth goal arrived 15 minutes from time, a penalty following a foul by Ustabasi on Chris Dawson with Girolamo scoring from 12 yards.
Reece King and Dawson had late chances as Celtic were lucky to escape with a 4-0 loss.
The post-match inquest lasted one hour and Haworth cut a forlorn figure as he left Bower Fold shortly before six o’clock as he has an enormous job ahead to arrest the side.
In the last four matches, Celtic have conceded 13 goals and fired three blanks with the only two goals scored against minnows Longridge so there are major issues that need addressing at both ends of the pitch.