Match Report -
Celtic out of the Trophy
By Iain Benson
Celtic went out of the FA Trophy after losing to a solitary goal. Salisbury deserved their victory after putting in a more committed performance than Celtic.

Salisbury showed this from the off, with Haran conceding an under-pressure corner. Barnard?s clearance struck Sales, the rebound going wide when it could have gone anywhere. Black sliced a clearance, conceding another corner that was cleared as far as Widdrington who shot from the edge of the box, the block coming to Tubbs who shot from an angle this time the block came to Cook, and his lobbed shot was well caught by Pettinger. Pettinger then had to catch Tubbs? soft header after Wilde had been allowed to pick a cross.

A goal was coming for the visitors, with them first to every loose ball. It came from a long punt down field. Tubbs controlled the ball well to go one-on-one with Pettinger; he took it around the Celtic keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net with Barnard almost back to reach it. Tubbs could have doubled his lead immediately after Maxfield committed a foul on Turk on the halfway line. Salisbury?s striker flicked the free kick towards goal, but went wide.

A moment?s hesitation over a bouncing ball from Haran allowed Sales to burst one-on-one with Pettinger, bringing a great block from the Celtic custodian, who then caught Sales? free header off the corner.

Salisbury started the second half with another pair of corners, but the Celtic defence dealt easily with them. Wilde then nipped past Black to whip in a cross; Sales had a free header, but put it across the face and wide.

Around the hour mark, Celtic started to look a little more dangerous, but there was no end product despite more accurate passing. When Sykes did get an opening for a shot, it was a Celtic shirt that blocked it, Kharas (on for Garvey as Celtic switched to 4-3-3) unable to get out of the way. As Banim was about to pull the trigger at the edge of the box, Cook sliced him down. Banim took the free kick himself, but couldn?t keep it down, zipping just over the bar with the huge Sawyer stationary.

Off a break, Sales dived to put his head on a Wilde cross pulling a great reaction block from Pettinger. Salisbury should really have doubled their lead when Davis lifted the ball over the Celtic defence and Pettinger pushed it over the bar. Barnard got back to stop the descending ball from crossing the line, and then blocking again as Matthews slid in, eventually slicing it clear.

Celtic were winning a fair few free kicks around the box, Prince took the one for the foul on him by Cook, but delivered it into Sawyer?s arms, Banim took the one for the shove on Eastwood, but couldn?t get any bend on it, putting it well wide. As the game neared a conclusion, it was as though Celtic had realised that they might go out of the Trophy, and with the formation now at 3-3-4, with four out and out strikers on the pitch there was more sustained pressure, and finally in stoppage time, Sawyer had to do some work as Sykes tried a low shot, struck well towards the bottom corner, but Sawyer got across well, and caught.

It was too little, too late, and one shot on goal at home is not a good statistic. At times Celtic looked like they wanted to get the ball to the goal-line before having a shot; against a big keeper like Sawyer on a wet and windy night a better approach might have been a few more speculative efforts. Fair play to Salisbury though, they closed down well, seemed to always have a man available and got the reward their play deserved.

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