Match Report -
1 error - points thrown away
By Ian Barker

The road to Barrow takes you past the Laurel and Hardy museum in Ulverston. It was shut this evening but there was one exquisite moment of farce at Holker Street for those who felt they might have missed something.

It was 0-0 and 80 minutes had been played. Barrow lined up a free kick 25 yards out and gave Celtic plenty of time to set up their wall.What followed was as predictable as it was risible. Barrow strikers Nesovic and Warren in turn ran at and jumped over the ball allowing full back Scott Maxfield to trickle in a low gentle left footed tap towards Craig Dootson who had full sight of all this.

Craig bent down to pick it up, politely allowing Barrow substitute Hume to touch it equally gently just in front of him . I swear that the ball passed cleanly through the keeper's body and into the net. Or was it a cinematographic trick of the early silent movies?

Another fine mess you got us into , Craig...

And this report could have begun so differently. For the first fifteen minutes Dootson was all that stood between Barrow and an early commanding lead.Striker Steve Housham popped up in the box after 8 minutes,turned and drove the ball hard to Dootson's right. Lightning fast relexes saved the day for Celtic as the keeper dived and pushed it clear.

Four minutes later Dootson was busy again pulling off a stupendous double save first from Housham then from Alex Nesovic who was following up the rebound.

Moments before half time Dootson again thwarted the goal scoring intentions of Housham by racing out to the edge of the box and clearing with his feet as the busy Barrow boy burst through on goal.

But the first half was by no means one-way traffic. Celtic matched their hosts shot for shot and corner for corner. Colin Potts came closest to scoring in the 16th minute when he curled a free kick from the edge of the penalty area against the inside of the keeper's right hand post only to see it bounce across the face of the goal and clear.

Terry Bowker had the ball in the Barrow net in the 35th minute but was adjudged to have leant on a defender as he rose to head in a Pottsy corner.

Barrow goalkeeper Simon Bishop ( who would surely benefit from a month on two on Slimfast ) had to look sharp to turn a sizzling Eastwood drive round the post at a time when Celtic were looking good for a goal.

It was a highly competitive and entertaining half with only one Celtic player seeing yellow . Nathan Wharton's unnecessary lunging challenge in the 41st minute was dealt with firmly by referee Mr Hay.

As the second half unfolded Wharton was fortunate indeed to stay on the pitch following two equally reckless late tackles to which Mr Hay chose to turn the proverbial blind eye despite the protestations of a home crowd baying for blood.

Most of the second half was a midfield battle with neither side managing a shot on target until Mr Maxfield's late free kick.

This game exposed the limitations of Celtic's wafer-thin squad. Bowker and Robertson again looked commanding and decisive at the back but ahead of them Wharton and Bowman were largely ineffective. Dave German continues to disappoint . His contributions tonight were of the hoof it upfield and away variety . He has done better and will do better again.

Denham and Eastwood ran their hearts out and Colin Potts was everywhere. But without a big target man up front it was just too easy for the Barrow defenders to squeeze Celtic's forward play into tight spaces , leaving our desperate forwards few options other than to shoot from long range or from impossible angles.