If only doesn't win football matches, if only Phil Marsh had scored his first minute penalty, how would the game have turned out, if only Paul Phillips had been sent off for either penalty, how would the game have turned out.
As neither happened, it is a moot point, and after Paul Phillips crashed through the back of Marsh in the box in the first minute, but Marsh's resulting spot kick crashed the wrong side of the post, the chance was gone. Especially when Dale Johnson evaded the attentions of Andy McWilliams and Rhys Meynell to pull the ball across the face for Ciaran Kilheeney's easiest finish of the season to put the visitor's one up with their first attack.
Droylsden followed this up by going two up with their second attack, Kilheeney hitting the woodwork, the Celtic defence not reacting, and Johnson nodding the ball into another empty net.
Two gifted goals had definitely given the advantage to Celtic. Steve Brogan saw his speeding effort go the wrong side of the post, and Joel Bembo-Leta's wicked near post ball was turned goalward by Marsh almost going through Phillips legs, with the Droylsden keeper reacting well to save it. Jan Budtz kept Celtic in the game, with a double save at the other end, Kilheeney's low drive parried as far as Carlos Logan who put in a thunderbolt, but Budtz was back on his feet to palm away.
Droylsden gave themselves the killer goal from a simple near post corner. Kilheeney meeting it and flicking his header into the net. Sometimes simple is best. Kristian Platt couldn't repeat that corner at the other end, with his header straight at Phillips, whilst Kilheeney had his hattrick ruled off side at the other end. Brogan saw his free kick tipped over by Phillips, and Meynell headed over from the resulting corner.
Celtic were handed a life line just before the interval when Paul Phillips denied Steve Brogan a clear goal scoring opportunity, after Brogan burst into the box to go one-on-one, nicked the ball past Phillips who clearly tripped Brogan. There was no other defender, and the ball wasn't going wide, and Brogan could easily have reached it to knock it in. When the officials watch it back, they will wonder quite how Phillips stayed on the pitch already being on a yellow card.
Phil Marsh again hit the post from the spot, but this time the right side of the post, and the ball flew into the back of the net. Phillips had guessed right, but was a good two feet short of the post with his full stretch dive.
Droylsden's job I the second half was to deny Celtic any chance at goal. Paul Phillips had to be at his best early on with a good move culminating in a fierce twenty-yard strike from Arthur Gnahoua which Phillips tipped away. From that point on, Celtic were denied chance after chance by fair means or foul. It looked like Celtic's best chance would come from a set piece, and there were plenty of opportunities. Celtic tried a few variations, with Brogan coming close with his curling effort, and some worked set pieces that saw Wilkinson fire into a crowd, only for the ball to bounce harmlessly away, leaving Celtic still looking for a win in 2012.
|2||Brown, Chris||> 33|
|7||Gardner, Dan||> 72|
|10||Johnson, Dale||> 71|
|12||Killeen, Lewis||< 33|
|14||Peyton, Warren||< 72|
|16||Rouse, Domaine||< 71|