Match Report -
Murphy, Villain and Hero
By Debbie Taylor

A lacklustre first half performance by both teams was replaced by an end-to-end finale in which Celtic could have easily taken all three points.

Matty Woods got the fastest yellow card of any conference game when he was booked after 40 seconds of play for a rash challenge on Pitman as Woking surged goal-ward from the off.

Woking opened the account with Pitman being put through the defence, but his shot lacked any real conviction, and under pressure fired into the arms of David Fish, replacing the injured Jason Batty, and putting in a performance that demanded a first team place.

The game then settled into a battling match between the two teams, as Pickford was pulled up several times for dispossessing the opposition midfield with sliding challenges, and giving away free kicks.

When Peacock fed Courtney, and the Celtic front man tried to dodge around Saunders, the Cards defender yanked him back, resulting in the second booking of the day before the game was ten minutes old. Celtic were unable to convert the free kick, and play quickly moved back to the Celtic third of the field. Though Murphy granted them a corner, Woods was on hand to send it clear.

A throw from Reeks, put Perkins through, he dragged the ball around Scott and got to the by-line, lobbing his ball into the box. Moore had time to line up his sights on goal - fortunately, they were woefully inaccurate, and his shot skimmed across the face of goal, and past the post. The defensive line up from Celtic was looking strong, and forcing Woking into distance shots as they found it difficult to break into the box. Woking found some success getting to the by line, but the presence of Beesley and Woods meant that there was precious little to aim at once the wingers got there.

Celtic started to turn the tables, and got a chance on goal when Peacock again fed Courtney, and this time, Courtney evaded the attentions of Saunders to snap off a quick shot. Tucker was up to the shot, keeping the score line blank.

Though Woking got another corner, it was palpable that Celtic were beginning to get the upper hand in the game, and Peacock pulled a top class save from Tucker as he kinked into position, and unleashed his trademark curling, dipping shot from the edge of the box. The Cards' keeper sprang a good distance to tip the ball over the bar, and Perkins was able to clear the corner. Courtney got another chance after a fine run by Scott to the by line was chipped into the box, but Courtney nodded wide.

A brief blip in Celtic's continued authority came, as the half went into the last fifteen.

Beesley conceded and then cleared a corner from Pitman, and Fish saved a speculative distance shot from Saunders. Then Sharpling received the ball on the penalty spot. He stroked it past Fish, but soon realised that he was the only one celebrating, as he had been offside.

Celtic soon returned Woking to the back foot, and Peacock tried his luck again, this time the ball skipped over the bar. But they could not get that final finishing touch, despite a series of corners as they pressed for an end of half goal.

Reeks' cross into the box turned into a shot when there was nobody there to meet it, and that put a cap on Woking's first half efforts.

Both teams came out fired up for the second half, and Peacock's cross straight from the off almost found Turley, but it just eluded the stocky striker.

Sharpling got a chance a few moments later after Wood fouled Sharpling as the Woking man ran through the middle of the park. The ball was spread out to Moore by Perkins, who squared to Sharpling. His vicious shot saw Fish palm the ball onto the post with a fantastic top draw save.

As the game swayed end to end, Celtic finally got a break through. Peacock beat Reeks down the line, allowing him to put in a pin-point cross. Turley rose past Piper to nod the ball into the back of the net, and went off celebrating his first Conference goal in the blue and white of Celtic.

But his celebrations were short lived as Pitman tried to break through the back line. A clumsy challenge by Murphy when he didn't really have to do anything saw Pitman go down in a flap of arms and legs. The ref pointed at the spot, and Smith slotted home the equaliser. To make matters worse, Murphy picked up a yellow card.

After Pickford fouled Moore, Moore's free kick was almost headed into his own net for the second game in a row, but this time Beesley reacted and headed the ball clear before any part of it could cross the line.

The sides traded corners, with neither side able to capitalise, and Pickford picked up his 10th yellow card of the season which will see him banned for the last two games, before Christmas.

Perkins almost grabbed a winner when he nodded the free kick past the post, and Sharpling got a chance when he collided with Fish, spilling the ball for him to poke it goal bound, but Murphy made up for his earlier error by clearing it off the line.

As both sides searched for a second goal, Tucker earned his wages tipping a Courtney header (after a Peacock corner) from point blank range around the post. Peacock tried again, but this time it was cleared.

Woking got three corners in succession, but could not make any of them count as the time ticked slowly away.

Both sides will have come away from this game believing that they should have won, with Woking making plenty of chances in the second half, but missing most of them, whilst Celtic forced Tucker into a series of excellent saves as they repeatedly broke through Woking's lines. Woking were only on target three times compared to Celtic's six, meaning that Celtic shaded it. A draw really helped neither side break away from the relegation drop zone.

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