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Match Report -
Buxton Friendly
By Iain Benson
With both teams having a blank Saturday, Celtic should have been facing Northwich who were in the FA Cup, a friendly was ideal.

In bitterly cold Derbyshire, the first half was largely an exercise in passing, with Celtic having the better of the chances on goal, without an end product until Craig Hobson took the ball past his defender, and looked to square it across to Connor Jennings, as Chris Backhouse moved for the low cross, Hobson smacked the ball into the goal at the near post. Jennings could have made it two when he scuffed a low near post ball from Osebi Abadaki narrowly wide, and Osebi himself fired narrowly wide just before the interval.

The second half was where the chances started to come for both teams. Dave Hankin was brought on for Richard Battersby with Greg Wilkinson dropping to right back, and his first contribution was to fire a free kick narrowly over the bar. He got closer after jinking inside his marker and firing off a shot, forcing Backhouse into a save, and after Osebi and Jennings linked up for the latter to fire narrowly over whilst on the turn, Hankin got the goal he'd been looking for, going one-on-one with Backhouse, drawing him out, rounding him and slotting home from an acute angle.

Buxton could have pulled one back straight away as Mark Reed raced past the Celtic defence and went one-on-one with Dave Carnell, but the Celtic keeper stood up well, and timed his challenge perfectly.

Jennings was also getting closer, turning and shooting from an Osebi low cross straight at Backhouse, whilst John Hardiker played midfield for the second half, and found himself latching onto Hobson through ball but lobbed the bar as well as the keeper. Hobson got a chance to double his personal tally from Osebi's lofted cross, but thought about his options too long, and ended up firing straight at the keeper.

A third Celtic goal was on the cards, and when a Wilkinson corner was not dealt with by the Buxton rear-guard, Jennings found himself with the time to curl a powerful shot across Backhouse and into the top corner. Seconds later, and Hobson nodded the ball down to his young striker partner who had the presence of mind to lob Backhouse with a delicate chip.

With a few minutes left on the clock, Buxton managed to pull a goal back as stand-in defender Garry Burke mistimed his tackle on Reed by a fraction inside the box, and Tommy Agus stepped up to send Carnell the wrong way. Moments later, and Buxton had halved the deficit in a freakish goal, the ball bouncing around the heads in the Celtic box following a free kick, before Mark Reed's header some how managed to spin back off the ground and in off the far post after looking like it would go harmlessly wide.

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