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Match Report -
Much more encouraging
By Iain Benson
Celtic's pre-season schedule is obviously working, as the improvement in performance just one week on was staggering. Oldham have won this fixture the past few times, and at one point, it looked like they might loose it.

Danny Forde, a trialist who has played for the Oldham reserves, worked an opening early in the game, with his shot zipping just the wrong side of the upright. Winn followed this up with a speeding drive of his own that also narrowly missed.

Keeling was forced into conceding a corner at the other end, but Ahamada blazed his shot well over the bar. Oldham continued to mount the pressure, and eventually, Celtic conceded. Griffin's cross in had Buxton racing to reach it, Molango beat him to it, squared the ball for Warne who slid through to six yard box to connect and slide the ball into the net. Griffin then found half a yard for a shot of his own, but put the ball narrowly wide of the mark.

Celtic were giving as good as they got, and Forde nearly capitalised on some good play the culminated in Hume pulling the ball back into Forde's path, his low drive was deflected and looped over the bar. Trottman headed out for a second corner. Ahamada looked to have doubled Oldham's lead just before half time when his first time volley sailed over Buxton, crashing against the crossbar.

Celtic started the second half by gifting Oldham their second. Haran didn't quite contact with a looping cross from Barlow, instead flicking it over the outstretched hand of Pettinger (on for Buxton) and into the back of the net. An instant reply from Celtic put smiles on the faces; Hume put a perfect weighted ball diagonally into the path of Kharas. Kharas didn't hesitate striking the ball sweetly past Smith in the Oldham nets to halve the deficit. This almost followed by an equaliser as Maxfield's free kick was floated to the back post and Kharas? header had to be acrobatically turned over his crossbar by Smith.

The equaliser did come through some sensational passing play. Celtic moved the ball quickly up the field, Black finding Kharas who smacked the ball towards goal, Smith made an excellent save, the ball rebounding to Winn racing into the box; Winn didn't hesitate striking his own shot, it was going wide until Hume's thigh intervened diverting the ball into the net. Hume almost doubled his tally when Kharas found him with his back to goal. A nice turn and shot saw Smith save well by his post. Smith new he was in a game as Garvey cut inside and struck a low flying strike that Smith was again called into action for.

Celtic were undone by a clever free kick routine. The ball was dinked over the top of the wall where Ahamada was waiting, he squared it to Molango and as Pettinger rushed to close the gap, he cheekily nutmegged Pettinger to put Oldham back into the lead. Barlow tried to put the game out of Celtic's reach as he burst between Sykes and Keeling, only for Pettinger to smother his toe-poked shot.

Forde ended the evening as he started it, working himself an opening, darting through it and strike a nice shot that was deflected for a corner.

All in all a much more encouraging performance by Celtic, and we possibly did enough for a draw.

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