Match Report -
Not again!
By Ian Barker

For twenty minutes Celtic tore into Stanley who ,for a while ,looked clueless. Fitzgerald and Denham set their stall out early with plenty of hard-driving moves down the left wing. For balance, Bowman and Eastwood were mounting menacing raids down the right and all looked well. As Celtic stretched the home defence this way and that, an unlikely away win seemed possible. When Accy keeper Jamie Speare thundered a clearance against the back of one of his own defenders, Phil Eastwood was handily placed to turn the loose ball into the net.

Fourteen minutes on the clock and the Celts deservedly 1-0 up. Six minutes later and Denham was beating off a keeper's challenge and poking the ball towards an empty net only to see his effort squeezed round the post by a desperate back-pedalling defender.

But then, mysteriously, a blanket of apathy seemed to settle on the Celtic squad. Stanley began putting their game together and Mullin's 35th minute lob over the bar ought to have acted as a much-needed wake-up call. But it didn't. As half time approached, the ball bobbed around the Celtic six-yard box and no-one took responsibility to deal with it. Dootson tried, but succeeded only in juggling the ball on to Mullin's swinging foot and the scores were tied at 1-1.

A minute into the second half Paul Mullin found himself completely unmarked and had the easy job of clipping the ball out of Dootson's diving reach to give Stanley the momentum that was to win them the match.

The killer goal was another Dootson horror story. We had played less than ten minutes into the second half when Craig inexplicably drove a clearance into Accy no 5 Michael Knowles when he could just as easily have knocked it away either side of him. The ball flew past Celtic's embarrassed keeper and into the net to give Stanley a 3-1 lead which they never looked likely to surrender.

It's hard on Craig, I know, but he does seem to reserve his worst mistakes for the biggest games. One frustrated Celtic fan even berated the Accy keeper with the taunt : 'Please do a Dootson.'

Up the other end, Celtic continued to bluster around the home goal, but without the classy fluency with which they had opened the game. Eastwood and Potts became invisible, and only Denham looked at all threatening.

For the last ten minutes, Dave Miller gave a run-out to new signing Greg Pearce, moving Mayers into the forward line in a late effort to retrieve something from a game that had slipped through his side's fingers. All he got for his reward was a fourth Accrington goal scored by the lively Lutel James, whose swivelled shot from the edge of the box had Dootson clutching at thin air.

Celtic sorely missed Clegg and German at the back, and this may explain why they buckled so easily under very little pressure.

And I missed two things. First, a public address system, thus I was unable to confirm the teams against those printed in the programme. On an evening when security at public events should have been tighter than ever given the start of the fire-fighter's strike, this was a potentially dangerous lapse on Accrington's part.

Second, a decent programme. £1.30 for a bundle of grainy photocopies hardly exudes class.

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