Match Report -
A Prince beauty-goal proves the match winner
By Iain Benson
Celtic had a tough match on their hands against a dogged Gainsborough side in cold and blustery wet conditions, but responded well to their opponents.

Higgins had the first chance for the visitors early in the game, getting his head onto Wood?s cross, but though he was under no pressure for the header, he couldn?t direct it under the bar. Celtic?s early chances came through Banim as he was fouled on the edge of the box, and won a corner out of Purkiss both of which were wasted. Banim got a better chance when Maxfield?s low cross found him with the space to twist and turn into a shooting position, his shot was good, but Holmshaw spread himself well, and saved with his foot.

Some good passing finished with Ellington sliding the ball along the edge of the box to Prince running in on a curving run, he hit the ball instantly with the outside of his foot curling the shot beyond the stretching reach of Holmshaw into the top corner. Prince nearly doubled his lead when Ellington was brought down by Higgins just outside the box, and Prince?s free kick curled around the wall, but Holmshaw caught it deftly. Garvey then put the ball through to Banim; he struck it first time, curling it around Holmshaw and just around the post.

Halfway through the half, Gainsborough should have been taken down to ten men when Black was hacked down by a frustrated Burley in full flight down the touchline. Black required extensive treatment and Burley got a yellow card.

Gainsborough almost equalised as the half was running out, as Caudwell?s cross was claimed by Pettinger but kicked from his hands by Mallon into the path of Wood whose shot was blocked on the line by Maxfield. A long throw was flicked on at the near post, with Parker getting his head on it, but he put his header over the bar in a spell of Trinity pressure.

The second half started with a couple of fouls on Banim just outside the box, but neither could be converted. Garvey got a chance when Ellington found him coming into the box, but he screwed his shot wide. Celtic passed it for fun around the Gainsborough players, eventually feeding Banim on the edge of the box, but his shot curled narrowly over.

Pettinger was forced into making a good stop as Wood raced between Haran and Barnard and had enough time to snap off a shot, but the save equalled the shot. A foul by Black on Burley just outside the box gave Gainsborough a chance of an equaliser and they piled forward, but Celtic defended well, and Prince raced off up the pitch, fed Ellington, Ellington slid it into the path of Price who spread the ball to the corner of the box to Banim, and the shot zipped narrowly over the bar.

Banim didn?t give up, and when he was fouled by Ellis just outside the box, he tried a quick free kick, but missed with Trinity still organising. Banim won a corner out of Purkiss which caused a whole host of problems in the box for Trinity with Pell getting a decisive header to put it out for a second corner. This eventually fell to Maxfield who struck a sweet shot that was top corner all the way until Holmshaw at full stretch tipped it onto the bar and out. Strangely, the referee decided it was a goal kick, and Holmshaw was quite pleased that the referee didn?t think he could have pulled off such an excellent save.

Gainsborough continued to look for an equaliser and Parker put a glancing header towards goal forcing a fantastic save from Pettinger at close range. Mallon tried a distance shot, but forgot to put any power in the effort and Pettinger walked over to scoop it up.

With time almost up, Ellington almost scored against his former club when Garvey threaded the ball through to him; one-on-one with Holmshaw it took a superb save from the Trinity keeper to deny him. The corner came to Banim at the edge of the box, had it been on target, his shot would have beaten Holmshaw, but it curled narrowly wide. A rare rush of blood from Ellington meant Celtic couldn?t have a comfortable end to the game: Banim put Ellington through; he beat three defenders to go one-on-one with Holmshaw but took the shot too early and blazed over the bar.

Celtic defended through the stoppage time denying the visitors even a glimpse of a chance and started their climb back up the table. Two tough away games follow, a competent Moor Green side, and an almost certain play-off contender in Northwich Victoria. Celtic need to be looking to get four points out of these games at least to narrow the gap between ourselves and the play-off spots.

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