Whatever Liam Watson said to the team at half time certainly had an effect, because the game against Nuneaton changed complexion completely after the restart.
After a meaty start by the hosts, including two bad fouls in as many minutes by David Morgan, Nuneaton were reduced to ten men. Instead of falling back, Nuneaton went for it, and Celtic looked a very poor side. Nuneaton were running rampant, keeping Celtic on the back foot, pressing hard and closing down. They got their just rewards for this when Rob Duffy’s initial shot hit the post through a combination of defending and keeping, the loose ball spinning across the face of the penalty area to Aaron Williams who rifled his shot into the roof of the net from close range.
Still the hosts came, and when Jordan Keene’s defence splitting pass let James Clifton, the full back, to run between the Celtic defensive duo to go one-on-one with Tony McMillan, it was the Nuneaton man who won out. Buoyed by the goal, Clifton was rampaging forward again a few minutes later, and – twenty-five yards from goal – and he placed it inch perfect just beyond McMillan’s reach. Nuneaton were clearly on top.
It wasn’t until right before half time that Celtic registered a shot worthy of the name, when Dale Wright had Aidan Chippendale on one side, Steve Tames on the other, and chose to shoot, his shot sailing over the bar. The final act of the half was John Shaw getting onto a half cleared free kick, the ball whistling over the bar.
With the start of the second half came Ben McKenna for Aaron Chalmers. From the off, Celtic were much more of a threat, dominating possession instead of cheaply conceding it. Alex Johnson was desperately unlucky to head Chippendale’s flicked cross across the face and wide, with Steve Tames arriving at speed, but not quite fast enough. From a corner, it was Tames who was unlucky when his cracker smacked the outside of the post.
Celtic’s reward came after twenty minutes, a free kick to the left of the box, Aidan Chippendale curled the ball in, over Jordan Smith and into the top corner. He will claim he meant that one! Moments later, and Chippendale turned provider, skipping past Clifton and lifting a cross to Alex Johnson who powered his header into the back of the net. Suddenly, with over twenty minutes left and Celtic were right back in it, and looking good.
Chippendale went close before Bohan Dixon launched one of his outside-the-box shots that had Smith beaten, but the ball clattered the far post. With Celtic pressing for an equaliser, gaps started to open up, and Nuneaton pressed, with Elliott Whitehouse testing Tony McMillan, and Callum Chettle firing wildly when it looked easier to score, but with five minutes remaining, Celtic kept coming.
Substitute Darius Osei showed his first team credentials when Tames put him through and he curled his shot under Smith to put Celtic level!
There was still time for Celtic to nick a winner, and it was Osei again on the end of a McKenna cross, but it just cleared the cross bar, and the game finished all square. It was a come-back worthy of the Wilson era.
|3||Reid, James||> 70|
|9||Duffy, Rob||> 50|
|12||Harewood, Marlon||< 50|
|16||Chettle, Callum||< 70|