Stalybridge Celtic 2 Nuneaton Town 5
Saturday 9th April, 2016;
After racing into a 3-0 lead in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign, only to be held 3-3, Boro saw the job out this weekend, and in the process kept up their play-off push.
In truth it never looked like anything but an away-day win, as Nuneaton once again showed their class against a struggling Celtic side.
After a solid, if not spectacular, start it was Boro who broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark.
Rob Duffy was the man with the goal – and it was a fine one at that – as the front man finished off a slick passing move with a wonderful strike on the edge of the box. Tony McMillan had no chance as it was curled past him with pace and accuracy.
The goal came just as Nuneaton began to up the ante. They broke down the Celtic defence with ease and as such it was no surprise when they doubled their lead soon after.
The goal came from the boot of Elliott Whitehouse as the midfielder grabbed his 12th of the campaign with a rasping drive from just inside the box. Once again McMillan had no chance as it was past him before he could react.
The Boro continued to dominate after the second goal, but resorted to a more measured, possession based game plan.
That continued into the second half, where despite Celtic pushing on, Nuneaton once again took control.
They managed to make that control count as they grabbed a third goal twelve minutes after the restart.
It came via Whitehouse again, this time the midfield man showing his calm nature, slotting it past McMillan when one-on-one with the home goalkeeper.
Adam Farrell grabbed a goal for Celtic with a little over 20 minutes remaining. It was a poor one to concede from the visitors who allowed the number nine far too much room in the box.
However, Nuneaton stopped the comeback before it could start this time with Marlon Harewood sliding home a fourth from six-yards out to give the Boro their three goal lead back.
Stalybridge had never really been in the game since Duffy grabbed the first goal, but that goal from Harewood really did knock the stuffing out of them.
The Boro had chances to make it five, Whitehouse had one disallowed for off-side, but it was a case of when and not if they would score again.
It eventually came from captain Shane Byrne as he placed the ball past McMillan after another slick passing move from the Boro tore the home team open.
With the rain lashing down Stalybridge did grab a consolation as Danny Burns put the ball into an empty net, but it was too little too late as the damage had already been done.
FT: Stalybridge Celtic 2 Nuneaton Town 5
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC: McMillan, Wylie (Crowley 46), Wisdom, Hughes, Higgins, Chalmers, Joyce, Mudimu (Tames 54), Farrell, McKenna, Chippendale (Burns 64)
Subs not used: Lingouba, Shaw.
NUNEATON TOWN: J.Smith, Clifton, C.Keane, Morgan (Scott 82), J.Keane, Rowe-Turner, Elliott (Ironside 89), Byrne, Duffy (Harewood 68), Whitehouse, Sanogo.