With three games to go, Celtic can no longer afford to lose another match. One more loss, and we are down. This is how the permutations now stand after a single set piece goal from Chorley left Celtic staring down the barrel of relegation. With Gainsborough and Worcester both drawing, they now know that as long as they don't lose their last two matches, the fight is between them for the last relegation spot.
The game itself showed Celtic's nerves. From the off, after failing to hold a cross, Grant Shenton poked the ball away from Jack Sampson, but only as far as Jake Cottrell. Fortunately, Danny Wisdom was on the line to deny Chorley a gift. After James Roberts had forced Ritchie Branagan into a decent stop and headed over and fired across the face and wide, Celtic got another let off, when Adam Blakeman's shot smacked against the underside of the bar, and bounced out, allowing the ball to be hacked clear. Branagan was again on hand, this time to deny Kieran Dunbar from exceedingly close range, as Dunbar nodded Adam Mather's excellent cross towards goal.
The game's only goal came after half an hour, when Dale Whittham floated a free kick to the near post, Shenton started to come, but Andy Teague got there first, and headed a looping header over the stranded Shenton into the top corner, just under the bar.
Roberts came ever so close to equalising minutes later, when he first curled a shot narrowly wide, and then nodded Andy Bishop's cross over the bar.
Through the second half, the league's best defence knew that they simply had to keep Celtic out, and were very adept at it, with Celtic looking panicked and desperate. An early chance came to Kieran Dunbar, but he screwed his shot wide, whilst Celtic's better chances came in the last quarter of an hour. Danny Wilkins, on for Dunbar, fired a cracking shot from the edge of the box through a crowd, but Branagan got down and across to push the shot out for a corner. The corner was cleared only as far as Wilkins, but his shot went wide. Celtic's last chance to save themselves came in stoppage time as Danny Wisdom fired over the bar.
The maths say survival is possible, but Celtic keep losing the plot at vital moments.
|5||Azam, Waqas||> 81|
|9||Carver, Marcus||> 73|
|12||Walker, Jason||< 73|
|14||O`Keefe, Josh||< 81|