This was a massively improved performance by Celtic and but for an equaliser thirty seconds from time, it would have been accompanied by a deserved three points.
Danny Wisdom almost opening the scoring in the opening moments of the game when he played a lovely one-two with Danny Wilkins and sent a scorcher that Adriano Basso was forced to push around the post. At the other end, Grant Shenton was barely tested by pedestrian shots from Tomi Adeloyi who did get three chances in the opening twenty-five minutes. Andy Bishop came close to his first goal for Celtic, beating Jordan Fagbole to a near post cross from Wilkins, but headed narrowly the wrong side of the post.
Moments after Celtic had ridden their luck when Nathan Lowe's twenty-yard dipping shot crashed off the bar, Celtic opened the scoring, when Matty Hughes was the recipient of a great leap and nod down from Bishop off Grant Shenton's free kick deep in Celtic's own half. Unmarked, Hughes had the time to pick his spot and smash home from ten yards out.
FC United equalised with a deflected goal, after Adeloyi had already forced Shenton into a near post stop from close range, Matty Wolfenden received the ball just inside the box from Nathan Lowe, turned and fired in low, his shot taking a massive deflection off a Celtic boot to loop up and over Shenton and creep in under the bar. He almost did the same again just before the interval when his shot again took a huge deflection, but this time, Shenton could get fingertips on it, pushing the shot onto the woodwork.
Celtic started the second half strongly. Danny Wilkins really unlucky not to regain the lead seconds after kick off, but Bosso got down well, blocking the shot at the expense of a corner that Bishop got his head to, Dale Tonge's also getting his head to the ball, to divert the shot just past the post. A free kick just outside the box saw Danny Pilkington try an audacious shot, curling the ball towards the far post, but Bosso, at full stretch, denied him. Pilkington's next free kick off a Greg Wilkinson handball, was just the wrong side of the post.
At the other end, Shenton kept Celtic in the game with an excellent save to deny the live-wire Adeloyi, before Celtic regained the lead. A cleared corner by Kieran Dunbar found James Roberts, who laid the ball off to Wilkins. Wilkins had three defenders to beat, but once he was in the box, he wriggled through them, and fired low past a statuesque Bosso.
Dunbar was within millimetres of ensuring the three points for Celtic when he turned and lobbed Bosso with a cracking effort after some great build up play. However, the ball crashed back off the woodwork with Bosso watching and praying it was going to miss.
Celtic looked to be defending excellently, and FC United looked unable to get through, until, three minutes into an unwarranted four minutes of stoppage time, Jerome Wright bounced off an overly robust challenge from Matty Hughes just outside the box.
To be fair, George Thomas's free kick was as top drawer as it was heart-breaking for the Celtic faithful. Whilst a win wouldn't have been enough to stop Celtic's slide into the Northern Premier League, it would have been a welcome ray of sunlight in an otherwise gloomy season. Additionally, with both Gainsborough and Worcester losing, it would have given some much needed hope.
Celtic's next trip is on Tuesday to the stuttering Alfreton Town, where we will be playing one of our three games in hand.
|3||Chantler, Chris||> 75|
|9||Adeloyi, Tomi||> 75|
|11||Wilkinson, Greg||> 60|
|12||Greaves, Tom||< 75|
|15||Sheridan, Sam||< 60|
|16||Thomson, George||< 75|