By George Bishop-Green
Radcliffe picked up their first three points of the season in a cagey encounter against Stalybridge Celtic. In testing conditions, two late second half goals were enough to see the away team come away with a 3-1 victory. The result sees Radcliffe climb up to 18th in the table, with a couple of games in hand on the teams above.
Boro started the first half of the game on top. The first chance fell to Matthew Wolfenden. He battled well for a ball over the top and hit his shot first time on the half volley. Wolfenden however, saw his shot go just wide. Wolfenden looked to test the home team again later in the half, he whipped a free kick into the box, but Callum Grogan couldn’t manage to get on the end of it.
In a cage half with few chances for either team, the first goal of the game came in the 41st minute. A long ball was met by Scott Bakkor, he then fed the ball into the right hand side of the box for Ross Dent. The unmarked Dent in the box fired his shot past Ollie Martin to make it 1-0.
Just as it looked as though Radcliffe would go into the half a goal behind, they managed to find an equaliser on the stroke of half time. Javid Swaby-Neavin advanced with the ball and had a shot from out wide, his shot was well saved by Alex Fojticek at the expense of a corner. From the resulting corner Scott Metcalfe found captain Harry Winter, who towered home a header at the backpost. Winters first goal for Radcliffe coming at such a crucial time.
The second half seemed to open up much more for both teams, with early chances for either side. First Tyrese Sinclair put a ball into the box, Fojticek struggled to deal with the high ball and dropped it, however Winter saw his header go over. Celtic then had a chance almost immediately after. Greg Wilkinson spread the ball across to Bakkor, he then laid the ball off to Walker. His cross was met by Craig Hobson, however his header was well over.
Radcliffe had two golden chances later on in the half. The first chance came from a driving run by Sinclair. His pull back was met by Liam Ellis, however his shot on the slide was met well by the keeper. Shortly after, Ellis pounced on a loose ball across defence by the home team, he found himself with only the keeper to beat ,however couldn’t find a finish past Fojticek.
The away team managed to find the breakthrough in the 74th minute. A throw from Metcalfe on the left hand side found Sinclair. Sinclair then slid a delightful disguised pass through to second half substitute Matthew Crothers. Crothers then curled his shot past the keeper and into the back of the net to give his side the lead.
As the home team pushed to bring the scores level, Boro found a third goal late on in the half. A long through was put into the box by Swaby-Neavin which caused chaos between Stalybridge defenders. Goalkeeper Fojticek came to claim the ball however dropped the ball, and after the ball bobbling around the box. The ball found its way to Wolfenden who cooly finished into the open net to give his side the three points on the day.
Boro will now look to build on a strong performance in both halves. Next they welcome Scarborough Athletic, a team who sit just one place above Radcliffe in the table, to the Neuven Stadium on Tuesday night.