Match Report -
Celtic Popped
By Six Yard Sam
After a poor first half performance that saw Celtic leak two goals, there was no way back. Despite a tactical switch that saw Ben Smith and Neil Prince replaced by Steve Garvey and Kevin Parr, it was too late for the Celts. With manager Paul Gascoigne pacing the length of the touchline, he watched as his Kettering side pounded the Celtic defence for twenty minutes before James Gould found a way through, advancing one-on-one with Paul Pettinger before lobbing him from outside the box and into the top corner.

Celtic barely had chance to regroup before David Theobald thundered a volleyed shot to double the Poppies lead. Around the half hour mark, the substitutions came, and Celtic were better able to deal with their hosts, but were unable to find a way through a stern Poppies defence, with a Banim shot going wide the best they could offer.

A half time rollicking from the gaffer saw Celtic emerge looking more confident, but that confidence was rocked almost from the re-start when Ollie Burgess got his head on Moore's cross thumping it past the distraught Pettinger. The Celtic mid-line did manage to queue up a couple of chances before Steve Garvey teed up Chris Price for a thumping header. There were complaints from Kettering after Kev Parr's dispossession of Burgess at the other end of the field had left the Poppies? striker lying on the floor, but the referee decreed the tackle fair, and allowed play to continue. Given that Burgess got back to his feet with no ill-effects, the referee, it seems was right.

Celtic continued to probe without any reward, but gaps were increasing at the back, and though Mark Haran and Barrie Keeling held them at bay, it was an out-of-position Mark Barnard that allowed Burgess to get to the by-line and pull the ball back, for Kettering to apply the killer blow with ten minutes remaining, James Gould getting his second of the night from a wicked deflection that left Pettinger stranded.

The game fizzled out as a contest after this, Kettering content to sit back, and Celtic demoralised.

In truth, it was a lack of invention up front, even after the tactical change, plus some schoolboy like defending in the opening half hour that lost Celtic this game.