A lacklustre second half performance from the Celts gave Droylsden the opening they need to grab a valuable point in the Tameside Derby.
Celtic bossed the first half, without really testing Dale Latham in the Droylsden nets. Kristian Platt had the Celts first on target shot from a rifled free kick that took a big deflection taking the sting out of it. Mark Lees nodded wide of the mark, and Greg Wilkinson’s edge of the box shot went wide. From a corner, Chris Hall beat his man and shot acutely across Latham, but a stuck out leg from Rob Sissons deflected the ball wide.
When Droylsden did finally have a shot, nearly half an hour in, it needed a cracking full stretch save from Alex Cairns to deny Jimmy Derbyshire. Celtic’s response was to play some intricate passing football culminating in Adam Pepper unleashing a volley that whistled past the post. Jason Gilchrist got into a bit of space and again found Alex Cairns in stunning form pushing the rocket away. There was a moment of confusion before Celtic reacted first to the loose ball and got it away before Droylsden realised it was there for the taking.
Celtic did look worth a goal, and Greg Wilkinson found a way to unlock the Droylsden defence, letting Chris Hall turn Lee McEvilly keeping himself between the Droylsden man and the ball. Once past the Droylsden defender, Hall only had Latham to beat and did so easily and with a confidence that belied the seven hours and fourteen minutes since Celtic’s last league goal.
Celtic should have put the game beyond doubt just before the interval, Lewis Hatch not getting a good contact on the loose ball after a corner, and scuffing it straight at Latham, but Latham excelled himself with Pepper’s shot moments later.
Right after the restart, Celtic were given a chance to put the game beyond doubt, when Latham picked up Andy Langford’s back pass to prevent Hall pouncing. Fifteen yards from goal, a rocket into the top corner from Kristian Platt would have sealed the three points, and Droylsden’s fate. However, the low shot straight down the middle was smack into the middle of the mass of Droylsden players and the chance was gone.
That let off let Droylsden back into the game, and Celtic looked half the team they were in the first half. A few minutes later, Droylsden had a corner. As Cairns came to claim, Chris Hall was in the way, and Andy Langford had a free header to equalise for Droylsden.
Droylsden could have won it, but John Grant shot wide when he should have done better, and Rob Sissons couldn’t get past Cairns. Celtic thought they’d regained the lead when Chris Hall put Tom Buckley through on goal and he slotted past Latham, but he’d been yards offside, and the goal didn’t stand.
As the game crawled to a close, Droylsden were the only ones who looked like scoring, with two chances from set-pieces, McEvilly heading a corner over the bar from close range, and Luke Gallagher knocking wide from a free kick when he really should have snatched it at the death for the home side.
Greg Wilkinson summed up Celtic’s second half performance by picking up one yellow card for kicking the ball away, and a second for a clumsy challenge. Frustration and clumsiness summed up the performance admirably.
|10||Gilchrist, Jason||> 82|
|11||Hall, Steve||> 66|
|12||cox, Stefan||< 66|
|14||Ward, Matty||< 82|