Match Report -
Away Day Blues
By Iain Benson
Celtic had a glorious chance to close the gap on Droylsden, but failed to take anything from a game that saw all of the action in the second half. With Keeling and Black both ruled out through injury Sykes was put back into midfield, and Maxfield had to play on the right.

There were half chances in the first half, with Hucknall Winder trying a scissors? kick off a corner straight at Pettinger, and Ricketts taking advantage of a Haran fall to lob Pettinger and the bar. For Celtic, Prince wriggled out of the grasp of the home defenders to put a cross through the six yard box, but Smith was aware and plucked it off Ellington?s feet. Ellington himself had a chance, lifting the ball over Smith, but the Hucknall number one was tall enough. Nangle?s cross to Frew saw Hucknall?s new signing put his free header wide of the mark; Frew turned provider, putting Ricketts through, but Pettinger made a good stop.

Celtic?s best chance of the half came when Eastwood lobbed a pass into the path of Prince who volleyed from thirty yards, it was a sensational strike, but Smith just made it to keep the scores level. Turley got behind the defence and put a low cross into the six yard box, but it was just behind Ellington. Eastwood was fouled thirty-five yards out, and Smith fumbled the free kick, but as Haran tried to steer it in, Winder got a block on it, and Hucknall scrambled clear.

The second half started brighter, thanks to a goal for Hucknall. McAuley?s cross to Ricketts saw the big forward volley from distance with a wonderful strike, worthy of winning any match that left Pettinger with no chance. Celtic got into gear and started playing better, crisp passing eventually saw Turley?s cross cut out for a corner by Asher. Haran got his head on the corner, nodding it down to Eastwood. Eastwood turned and shot from close range, and there was nothing Smith could do to keep it out.

Almost immediately, Prince found Turley running into the box, Smith was well out of position, and it was a glorious chance for Turley to give Celtic the lead, but he didn?t set him self, and put the ball over the empty net.

Celtic were immediately made to pay for the miss when Frew?s strike was adjudged to have been handled by Haran inside the box, and Barnard got a booking for complaining that it was ball to hand. Colkin took the penalty and scored the winner for Hucknall.

Ricketts could have compounded the misery when he got onto McAuley?s cross with a back flicked header, but Pettinger made a good reaction stop. Ellington worked space at the edge of the box, but his shop produced a good stop from Smith. Celtic quickly ran out of ideas, and Hucknall were content to play keep ball until the final whistle.

After the final whistle, Ricketts kicked the ball at Maxfield who?d been trying to get the ball off him whilst Ricketts protected it in the corner. Maxfield took the ball in the face and a melee broke out. The referee booked both players, with Ricketts already having been booked, seeing red.

It was a poor game against opposition desperate for the win, but Celtic?s poor away showing continued with a severe lack of ideas for breaking down a solid Hucknall team.

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