Match Report -
Battled for the Goalless Draw
By Iain Benson
Celtic?s unbeaten run in the league continues but it was a hard fought draw in Hinckley.

In the opening ten minutes Celtic had a pair of corners, the first of which John Hardiker headed wide, and after Paul Ennis?s low cross evaded everybody including the stretching feet of Joe O?Neill and Matty Barlow, a second corner resulted in desperate Hinckley defending, throwing themselves in front of Steve Woods?s drive and then O?Neill?s attempt to turn in the rebound with Alex Taylor clearing off the line.

It was no walk in the park for the Celtic defence, with Phillips called into action on more than one occasion, the peach of them coming mid way through the half as Matt West?s effort looked to have evaded Phillips, but a trailing leg lifted the ball over the bar. Elsewhere it was more routine stops from Neil Cartwright and Adam Webster. Hinckley should have been one up when Andy Gooding raced downfield with the ball, and though Richard Battersby got across to push him wide, as he got one-on-one with Phillips, Gooding lacked composure and finishing, shooting wide. Chris MacKenzie in the Hinckley nets was equally busy, a full stretch save to deny Battersby?s curling drive and though Woods did well from the corner of the box with a striker?s finish, MacKenzie was well placed to scoop up.

The second half was more frantic with both sides missing some glorious chances. Joe O?Neill and Dave Hankin were both unlucky with early efforts going only narrowly wide, the former off a Hankin cross, the later of a little jink inside and shot. Matty Barlow almost found a way through after cutting in from the other wing, but again MacKenzie was up to it, diving to his left and clasping the ball at the second attempt, whilst he was more fortunate when John Hardiker made a surging run from the back, laid it off to Hankin and forced MacKenzie into a good stop when he stayed in the box for the header. Phillips pulled off a pair of great stops in the second half, the first off a corner, as Richard Lavery evaded his marker to plant a header from close range, and though he was beaten from the second corner, Hardiker was on the line to hack clear as Hinckley pressed. Phillips?s second save was all about reactions. Andy Hall?s cross was headed back into the action by West, and Adam Webster?s close range header should have been a goal, but Phillips was right there to pluck the ball from the air.

MacKenzie?s full stretch save to deny Connor Jenning?s after some neat one-touch passing put the youngster one-on-one with the Hinckley custodian, and Warren Peyton?s super curling free kick curled a fraction too far, but it was John Hardiker who once again came closest to scoring for Celtic, with minutes left on the clock he came up for a foul, at the back post he diverted it onto the post and across the face of goal; as Gidding hacked clear, it went to Briggs who blazed well over with the last meaningful attack.

1MacKenzie, Chris  
2Taylor, Alex  
3Gidding, Stuart  
4Lavery, Richard  
5Lister, Paul  
6Franklin, Conner  
7Hall, Andy  
8Gooding, Andy  
9Webster, AdamYellow Card 
10West, Matt  > 81
11Cartwright, Neil  
12Eribenne, Chucki  < 81
14Dillon, Dan  
15Roberts, Jack  
16Hamilton, Louis  
17Storer, Stuart  
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