STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 3, BISHOP AUCKLAND 0
Stalybridge Celtic can already appreciate the financial rewards of a prolonged run in the Emirates FA Cup following their stroll to victory against Bishop Auckland.
The successes against Stocksbridge Park Steels and Bishop Auckland in the opening two qualifying rounds has netted the club £3,694 in prize money, a further £1,000 television facility fee as the former was screened live on the BBC red button and also a 50/50 split from both attendances.
It represents considerable riches for Celtic as well as enhancing the club’s reputation, the latest win seeing them vanquish Bishop Auckland, once arguably the finest amateur team in the land.
Goals from Mike Burke, Harry Freedman and Lewis Salmon sealed victory and, if there was any criticism, they ought to have won by a wider margin against opponents from the Northern League, further down the footballing pyramid.
The win extends Celtic’s remarkable start to the season to 12 games unbeaten – nine in friendlies and three in competitive fixtures.
“We played well and what pleased me was the way we got the ball down and passed it, something we were able to do against a team lower in the pyramid,” explained manager Simon Haworth who agree it was a comfortable victory.
“We are never going to win the league on our budget, but a cup run is great for the club and puts our name out there,” he continued.
Harry Freedman missed an early chance for Celtic firing wide when it looked as though he could not miss.
The breakthrough came midway through the opening period when Burke, who by his own admission conceded it was a scruffy goal, finished off a neat build up involving Nic Evangelinos and Jonathan Ustabasi who provided the assist.
Celtic doubled their advantage early in the second period when Ustabasi cut in from the left and bent a shot which goalkeeper Charlie Lamb superbly saved only for the rebound to fall invitingly for the alert Freedman who was following up.
That goal effectively sealed victory and it was a case of how many Celtic would win by.
Burke and substitute Salmon were both denied by Lamb before the third goal finally arrived in the 77th minute.
Evangelinos fired in a free kick from the right and Lewis leapt like a Salmon to head home at the far post.
In the latter stages, Salmon, Evangelinos and Burke could all have scored further goals with Bishop Auckland getting away lightly with a 3-0 loss.