Shades of last season seem to be recurring as Celtic fell to a third defeat on the trot against a Marine side that stifled Celtic's play and took their opportunities with two well worked goals in the second half.
Both sides tested the waters early on, with James Short and Aaron Burns both warming the keepers up with straightforward catching practice. Lassana Mendes did all the hard work to get down the line and cut into the box, but with the keeper to beat and two defenders closing in, Mendes took the shot instead of the pass to Aaron Burns at the back post or Jake Charles on the penalty spot, or even Matty Wolfenden at the edge of the box. Joe Slinn to be alert when James Murray's effort was well parried, striking Adam Jones and going for a corner, whilst at the other end, Ben Barnes did superbly well to tip Matty Wolfenden's dipping shot over the corner of the crossbar.
By far the best chance of the half came to after some good slick passing put Burns in on goal. A one handed save from Barnes denied Burns, the rebound coming to Wolfenden forcing Barnes into the save of the match.
The second half started with Short trying a cheeky free kick, but Slinn read it well. There was absolutely nothing Slinn could do when Michael Brewster raced down the line with a lax Greg Wilkinson pass. Joe Garvey tracked him, three defenders tracked Vincent Bailey at the back post. Brewster's pass was absolutely inch perfect onto Bailey's toe to smash past Slinn.
Marine were the stronger of the two sides after the goal. Celtic passed it around well, but without penetration, whilst Marine were pouncing on any chances, Danny Mitchely turning a loose ball onto the crossbar, as the Celtic defence disintegrated, fortunately, Brewster heading the loose ball over the bar.
With twenty minutes to go, Celtic were starting to look more composed, Oli Roberts fired wide and Burns got his head on Joe Garvey's cross looping it over Barnes and crashing back off the crossbar, but there was no Celtic player to capitalise on the confusion in the Marine box.
Marine made the game safe with ten minutes to go. Mitchely broke the offside trap, racing one-on-one with Slinn. Slinn stood up well, but instead of shooting, Mitchely picked out Bailey who side footed home.
Celtic really were not good enough to break down a hardworking Marine.
|7||Bakkor, Scott||> 72|
|12||Strickland, Kenny||< 72|