The game started slowly, though Connor Jenning's had a scuffed angled effort that Curtis Aspden scrambled around the post, the corner coming Matty Barlow who saw Aspden pull off a better save. At the other end, last week's scorer, Wayne Riley tried to catch Celtic napping again with a run, but this time Dave Carnell was able to get across, and when Brian Dutton beat the offside trap to race one-on-one, it took a great save from Carnell, blocking at the edge of his box to keep the teams goalless. Michael Carr nodded a free kick wide, and Andy Smart put his free kick well over the bar in a half that looked destined to finish 0-0.
However, just before half time, John Newby was put into the clear right on the half way line, catching Andy Smart flat footed and racing unhindered towards goal, slotting past Carnell. Moments later and it should have been two, but Brian Dutton missed the easiest chance of his career, latching onto a free kick and lifting the ball over the bar.
The second half started off much better, but the early pressure came from Northwich, Mark Danks seeing his effort stopped at the second attempt with unorthodox, but effective keeping from Carnell. From a corner, John Newby fired a point blank header at Carnell, who saved well. Carnell was having a good game, and again, from a corner, provided unorthodox keeping, palming away the cross in, and then collecting the rebound amid feet. A harsh free kick against Woods gave Northwich another chance, and Tom Smyth fired through a crowd, but the shot ricocheted off the post and out.
A goal was coming, and it was a defensive mistake, a bouncing ball in the box over Carnell and Keeling fell to Brian Dutton who nodded home from inches out.
Celtic responded in style, and played some excellent one-touch entertaining football straight from the off, most of the team were involved, Bembo-Leta sliding the ball out to Graeme Law who cut in and lifted a superb cross into the box for Connor Jennings to stoop in and flick his header just beyond the reach of Aspden. Celtic tried to press their advantage, but Northwich defended their lead well, and the game started to fizzle out in the cold.
Substitute Johnny Allan had a good angled drive well saved by Carnell, whilst Joe O'Neill latched onto Warren Peyton's through ball, and slipped the ball between Aspden's legs, but the Vics keeper got enough on the ball to divert it an inch wide. The corner came to Warren Peyton (on for Greg Wilkinson), who blasted the ball towards goal, only for Aspden to not only save, but keep hold of the ball.
Right at the death Allan could have put a gloss on the result for Northwich, but Carnell made a good save, putting Celtic into their final game unable to finish higher than eighth, but with a big bearing on the winner of the league on Saturday, with Southport losing, Fleetwood will need to win and hope Southport don't to finish as champions.
|8||Connor, Michael||> 69|
|10||Newby, John||> 86|
|11||Dutton, Brian||> 80|
|12||Allan, Johnny||< 80|
|14||Horrocks, Luke||< 86|
|15||Winter, Harry||< 69|