Match Report -
Celtic move back into the play-offs
By Iain Benson

Celtic leapfrogs the visitors with a worthy match winner from Greg Wilkinson.

Celtic were the quickest out of the blocks in a cagey first half, Brogan getting half a yard, but sending his shot straight down Simon Eastwood’s throat. As Celtic pressed, Liam Hogan had to head Mark Lees fine cross over his own bar under pressure from Phil Marsh. As the half went on, the visitors gained a foothold in the game, with Liam Needham heading a corner over.

The game was end to end, and it looked like neither side would score. Lee Gregory hacked down Callum Warburton in full flight, leading to a booking and further punishment as Stephen Brogan’s perfectly flighted free kick was chased in by both Rhys Meynell and Chris Lynch, Meynell missed, but with Eastwood expecting Meynell to connect, he was wrong footed when Lynch instead go the final touch to pop the ball home.

Arthur Gnahoua did the hard work getting into the box, he took the shot, but it lacked the power to trouble Eastwood and double Celtic’s lead, which gave Halifax a way in. Watched from the stand by Peter Crouch and Abbie Clancy, Abbie’s brother Sean, got on the end of a fast low cross as James Dean reached the by-line and fired hard past Meynell and Budtz, and prodded home from close range.

There were chances for both teams as the half drew to a close, Greg Wilkinson firing over the bar and Ross Hannah giving Budtz a reasonable but not difficult test. Mark Lees had a reasonable chance from a tight angle parried by Eastwood as the teams battled to the end of the half.

The second half was less end to end, with neither side getting much in the way of chances. With Tim Ryan marshalling the Celtic defence, it looked like Halifax would be unable to break through, whilst Halifax too looked unassailable. Celtic did get a couple of chances early on from set pieces, with Brogan heading over when it looked easier to score and Callum Warburton forcing Eastwood into a reasonable stop. At the other end, Halifax missed a couple of glorious opportunities, as the ball flashed through the Celtic box with nobody there to tap it in.

With ten minutes to go, Halifax looked to be running out of ideas, and Celtic advanced, Greg Wilkinson firing a warning shot across Eastwood’s goal from thirty-five yards after the Halifax defence stood off him. Moments later, they stood off him again, and this time, his shot was inside the post, bouncing awkwardly in front of the full stretch Eastwood who watched the ball skip over his hand and into the back of the net.

Celtic had to see the last ten minutes out, but although Halifax pressed like they had at their own place when losing 2-2, this time, they looked lacking in energy and could not break through letting Celtic go above them in the table.

1Eastwood, Simon  
2Toulson, Ryan  
3McManus, ScottYellow Card 
4Needham, Liam  > 70
5Hogan, LiamYellow Card 
6Lowe, Danny  
7Clancy, Sean  
8Crooks, Matty  
9Dean, James  
10Hannah, Ross  > 63
11Gregory, LeeYellow Card > 75
12Senior, Phil  
14St Juste, Jason  < 63
15Rainford, Jamie  < 75
16Garner, SimonYellow Card < 70
17Hardy, Aaron  
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