If games were decided on possession, territorial advantage and chances, Celtic would have cantered to an easy victory over a Vauxhall side much higher up the table in terms of points and places.
However, games are won by goals, and Celtic’s goal drought has now stretched to four games, with just two goals in the last eight games, and although it looked like there would be only one team scoring in this match, Celtic’s inability to convert their chances meant Vauxhall got an underserved point.
Both teams started the game by warming the goalkeeper’s hands, Greg Wilkinson with a curling effort through the crowd that lacked the power to beat Zac Jones, and Tom Rutter had a weak effort straight at Cairns. Cairns had slightly more work to do to deny Karl Noon after he’d cut in from the side, but it was nothing dangerous, and Cairns always looked likely to get to it. A Kristian Platt free kick was low and hard, but Jones got down smartly for the stop. Jones got a let off with a dubious offside on Chris Hall, when the Celtic striker was clean through and Adam Pepper’s lifted effort was athletically taken by Jones.
Rutter had a couple of efforts midway through the half from set pieces, but again, Cairns would have had to be asleep for them to be difficult to catch, whilst Greg Wilkinson’s stunning effort from twenty yards was deflected over his own bar by Chris Noone. After struggling to clear the corner further than twenty yards, Wilkinson found the space for another effort; curled toward the top corner and Jones had to fly across his goal to tip it around, and then Jones claimed the corner at the second attempt in the crowd.
Right before the interval, Jones made the save of the match when Hall finally beat the inconsistent offside flag to go one-on-one and Jones managed to block the low shot with his leg.
The second half saw Vauxhall register no shots on target and their only shot at all was a woeful free kick. All the action was down at the Vauxhall goal end. Lewis Hatch and Greg Wilkinson both fired over when they should have hit the target with the space they had, whilst Celtic had corner after corner with the pressure the Motormen were under. Wilkinson’s next effort was on target, and did have Jones at full stretch, but wasn’t overly difficult for him.
With five minutes remaining the obligatory moment of controversy at Vauxhall motors came thanks to two poor decisions. The first was Wilkinson’s shot was deflected away by Chris Noone’s outstretched arm, the defender clearly raising his arm to intercept the ball, but no penalty was forthcoming, the loose ball fell to Chris Hall, who smashed it into the back of the net, only for the linesman to give offside, despite the defender on the line of the goal playing him on.
With no stoppage time at all, despite two injuries, and four substitutions, Celtic had no time to turn their ire into a goal, and have now gone about six hours forty minutes since the last league goal in the 2-2 away draw at Boston.
|3||Moss, Louis||> 23|
|10||Stott, Ashley||> 74|
|11||Noon, Karl||> 65|
|12||Anoruo, Obi||< 65|
|14||Burns, Mike||< 74|
|15||Robrts-Nurse, Conor||< 23|