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Match Report -
Celtic battle and overwhelm Brackley
By Iain Benson

But for a soft goal, Celtic would have won this one, after putting in a barnstorming performance that left high-flying Brackley reeling under constant pressure.

Although five players were making their home debut, the team looked like a team. Matt Regan, one of the debutants put in an outstanding performance at the back that made Celtic look solid.

The opening twenty minutes were very even, with Stefan Moore forcing Danny East into an early reaction save, while at the other end, debutant loan player Ryan Crossdale also tested Billy Turley. Celtic's y now obligatory soft goal came during a spell of pressure from the visitors. A corner was floated to the back post where Kelvin Bleau had two players to contend with. Steve Diggin collected the ball and floated it back into the mix, where Brett Solkhon was on hand to scramble the ball over the line as Celtic struggled to clear.

To say it was all Celtic from that point on was not an understatement.

Regan headed wide from a free kick, Tom Buckley curled a great effort narrowly wide and Paul Ennis was desperately unlucky after a good move put the midfielder in on goal, only for Turley to get a fingertip on the rocket of an angled shot, diverting the ball onto the bar and out. Moments later, Jack Ryan beat Turley to a dropped ball, only for Remy Clerima to get across and put in a telling block on the goal line, leaving the visitors unjustly ahead at the interval.

The second period started with great play from Celtic. Josh Green's low effort was just wide of the far post, and Celtic kept the pressure up, with a whole series of corners from last ditch visitor defending. Joel Bembo-Leta saw his close range effort blocked by Turley, and Ennis latched onto an inch perfect through ball, only for Turley to again come to Brackley's rescue with a superb stop.

Celtic finally got a breakthrough, which on paper looked lucky, but was anything but. After a handball by Diggin some thirty yards out, Adam Pepper's sublime free kick to the back post completely evaded Turley, and with a cue of Celtic players, Tom Sharpe had to get his head on it, but then had to watch in dismay as his flicked header sailed into the top corner, with mere minutes left on the clock.

Celtic didn't stop, and kept pressing for an equaliser, and Jack Ryan could have been the hero when he got his head solidly on a floated cross into the box, only to put it wide.

A fighting spirit was evident running through the team. Although it wasn't one point closer to safety with both Oxford and Gloucester getting draws, keeping the gap perilously close, this didn't look like a team that would meekly go down without a fight, and gives great hope for the run in to the end of the season.

1Turley, Billy  
2Clerima, RemyYellow Card 
3Langdon, Dominic  > 88
4Odhiambo, Eddie  > 87
5Sharp, Tom  
6Austin, Ryan  
7Reid, Izak  
8Solkhon, Brett  
9Moore, Stefan  > 70
10Diggin, Steve  
11Walker, GlennYellow Card 
12Nisevic, Eddie  
14Bridges, David  < 87
15Towers, Steve  
16Mulligan, Gary  < 70
17Mills, Ben  < 88
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