Seagulls led 2-0 at half-time, but it was another nail-biting last 10 minutes as the home side pulled a goal back and missed three good chances to snatch an equaliser in the dying minutes – despite having player-manager Keith Briggs sent off for a second yellow card.
Stalybridge were close to taking an early lead when Anthony Malbon turned a corner kick onto a post and Josh Ollerenshaw did well to block the follow up shot from the rebound, but the Seagulls then took control with two goals in six minutes.
A Wes Baynes cross was nodded down for Rob Hopley to ram a 12 yard shot past home keeper Lewis King, and then from a Baynes corner, Anthony Stephens powered in a header which the keeper could only help into the net.
A superb goal line clearance by Louis Moss prevented Aidan Chippendale shooting the home side back in the game, while Colwyn Bay had good opportunities on the break to increase their lead but were let down by the final pass in some promising situations.
In the second half Hopley just failed to convert Marc Williams’ low cross from close range, while Anoruo missed a headed chance from Hopley’s cross and was then denied a goal when the keeper made a good block with his body.
As the half progressed, Stalybridge got more on top, especially after Anoruo was withdrawn due to fatigue, and Ben McKenna missed a sitter when he side footed over a gaping goal and Ollerenshaw denied Paul Ennis with a diving one-handed save.
At the other end Joel Bembo-Leta, who had had an outstanding game at right back, missed a great chance to make it 3-0 after starting the move by winning the ball on half way, making a strong run forward and taking a return pass from Marc Williams to go clear, only to shoot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Stalybridge immediately pulled a goal back through Malbon to set up an anxious last few minutes in which substitute Kevin Holsgrove, who only signed the previous day from Guiseley, put a free header just wide, fired another chance inches over the bar, and Celtic were narrowly off target with two other headed chances.
The Seagulls, however, hung on to take the three points.
Manager Frank Sinclair admitted it had been a bit hairy at the end.
“Its human nature when you are in front to try and defend what you’ve got and start going backwards, but I was trying to get the players to get up the pitch and get another goal.
“I thought we were fantastic on the counter-attack and had some great opportunities to score more goals, particularly in the first half, and if we’d taken some of those it would have made us a lot more comfortable. But Stalybridge are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table so while they are still in the game you would expect them to have a real go.
“We’ve worked our socks off and all in all it is another great three points and moves us back up the table.”
The manager revealed that Anoruo had been substituted because of fatigue.
“He complained at half-time about tired legs and I asked him to give us another 15 or 20 minutes. Obi has not played much football for a long time and to be suddenly playing every week for us is taking a toll on his body. He’s getting stronger as he goes along, but it is a big ask for him to be playing up top on his own for a lot of the time, which is very hard work.
“Its the same for Paulo Mendes who gave us another 60 minutes today which is phenomenal when you consider he has been out injured for so long. He will get better and stronger the more minutes he gets on the pitch and he gives us something extra going forward.
“I don’t like singling out players, but I thought Joel Bembo-Leta today was unbelievable at right back. He was a threat all day going forward and if he’d scored from that chance late on it would have been one of the goals of the season for us.”
Colwyn Bay: Ollerenshaw, Bembo-Leta, Moss, Stephens, Royle, Noone, Mendes (Haywood 59mins), Anoruo (Hodgson 74mins), Hopley, Williams, Baynes. Subs not used: Sharpe, Sinclair, Pilliner.