MATCH REPORT: City 0; Stalybridge 0

An incredible defensive display by the Dolly Blues saw them hold Stalybridge Celtic to a point at the Giant Axe as both teams had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
City went into the game unbeaten in their last three games, but it was the visitors who started the brighter.

Stalybridge had a huge chance in the 5th minute as Jonathan Ustabasi had his powerful shot tipped over the City goal by Sam Ashton.

The Dolly Blue defence was worked more with a couple of corners before Darius Osei crossed the ball in from the left but Craig Hobson couldn’t reach the ball to give the visitors an early lead.

City held their defensive shape well and stopped a huge opportunity for Stalybridge as a Scott Bakkor ball was expertly cut out by City.

In the 15th minute, the visitors should have taken the lead. Hobson was involved again for Stalybridge as he crossed for Osei who couldn’t capitalise on the chance.

The game was going against City early on and they were dealt an even bigger blow as Niall Cowperthwaite went down in the 19th minute and required treatment before he sadly had to be replaced by Bradley Carsley in the 23rd minute.

City were just starting to restructure after the change as Stalybridge tried to capitalise with another big chance. Osei causing the City defence problems as he drove towards the box with the ball falling to Ustabasi but it was another good save from Ashton to prevent the visitors taking the lead.

The Dolly Blues had started to pick up after this chance, with back-to-back corners sparking a good spell for City as they looked to take a hold of the game.

With half time approaching, Stalybridge could have taken the lead with another huge chance. Ross Dent found space on the left-hand side and drove forward with the ball before crossing the ball into Hobson but Ashton was there to make a good save to stop a possible goal.

The second half started a lot brighter for the Dolly Blues as they had the first chance of the half, with Stephan O’Halloran putting in an incredible block to stop Rob Wilson from putting City in front.

Ustabasi had another chance for the visitors in the 63rd minute but the hero again for City was Ashton who protected his goal with his life, making an incredible leaping save to keep the scores level.

City made their second sub of the game in the 71st minute as Jack Evans was replaced by Sam Bailey just after Celtic brought on Harry Freedman to replace Scott Bakkor.

Celtic continued their pressure after the substitutions as Osei cut inside the penalty area and brilliantly curled a shot towards goal but City defended brilliantly to put the ball behind for a corner.

This was the last of the action in what was a fantastic defensive display from City to take a point from an impressive Stalybridge side.
Next up for City is a trip to Stafford Rangers on the 21st December for a 3pm kick off in what is the start of a busy Christmas period for the Dolly Blues.

Match Report by Tomos Berry