Match Report -
Early goal was enough
By Iain Benson
A goal worthy of winning the match did so, but came very early, leaving Celtic hanging on at times.

The goal came from the first meaningful attack by Celtic as Joe O?Neill?s initial effort was charged down, spinning out as far as Keith Briggs just outside the box, who watched the ball fall and met it superbly, leaving visiting keeper Dan Lowson grasping air. Celtic managed to contain any instant reply from Ilkeston at the expense of attacking, until half way through the half when Jack Watts?s close range header from a free kick was stopped with a reaction stop from Dave Carnell, and Celtic hacked the ball away with some difficulty, the ball returning as fast as it could be cleared.

A sixty yard pass from Michael Carr fell to Dave Hankin, who cut inside and fired off a shot of his own that went narrowly over, whilst at the other end, Gary Ricketts saw his goal bound effort turned aside with a flying save from Carnell, and it was Ricketts again who headed the corner over the bar. Just before the interval in a half of few chances, Matty Barlow was given a peach of a ball from Graeme Law, and Barlow?s cushioned header was well weighted to clear Lowson, but it span the wrong side of the post.

After the interval, Steve Woods almost began that half as Celtic had begun the first, a loose cleared ball from the Ilkeston box falling to him, but his shot flashed over the bar, and O?Neill fired in low from the edge of the box under pressure, but lacked the power to trouble Lowson. Sam Duncum cut inside Law at the other end of the pitch and fired in low himself, but Carnell was quicker than the ball, and got a good touch, sending the ball out for a corner. Ilkeston brought on their big guns with twenty minutes to go, their top scorer Amari Morgan-Smith, and he almost got a chance straight away, forcing Carnell into a stooping stop.

Despite Ilkeston advancing closer and closer to the Celtic box, they failed to breach the stalwart defence, and Celtic extend their unbeaten run in the league now to twelve games, and move to within sniffing distance of the play offs again. Tuesday sees a chance to make up one of the lost games when Gloucester come to visit.

1Lowson, Dan  
2Mitchell, Aaron  
3Bonner, Tom  
4Holmes, DanYellow Card 
5OLoughlin, CharlieYellow Card 
6Waterfall, Luke  
7Prendergast, Rory  > 75
8Dempsey, PaulYellow Card 
9Ricketts, Gary  
10Watts, Jack  
11Duncum, Sam  
12Short, Oscar  
14Hooks, Neal  
15Palmer, Jermaine  
16Morgan-Smith, Amari  < 75
17Coombes, David  
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