Celtic got a dream start. A McNulty foul on Maxfield saw the ball whipped into the box. Sykes? flick on was not cleared and Ellington pounced to slip the ball past the keeper with an excellent strike whilst leaning back. Buxton had been drafted in at a late stage when Pettinger was declared unfit during the warm up. He got his first taste of the action when O?Donnell tried a distance shot, but it was a tame effort.
After Keeling fouled Field forty yards out, Moogan struck a wicked free kick that saw Buxton fly across the face of goal to tip the ball out for a corner that McNulty headed over. Almost immediately, Celtic had the ball down the other end, and after working it well, Black put a cross right onto Hume?s head, only for the well positioned Lake to take an easy catch. Lake had a less easy job when he, Hume and two defenders all went for Black?s ball in; Lake dropped his attempt at a catch, and was lucky Griffiths was there to hack clear.
Vauxhall equalised as nobody went towards Lawless, despite already knowing his propensity for distance shots, so he did it again, curling a twenty-five yard shot unopposed into the top corner with nothing Buxton could do. Minutes later, a moment of madness saw a poor back pass allow O?Donnell, Vauxhall?s top scorer, race down Buxton?s throat. Buxton did reach it first, but his clearance struck O?Donnell and it span up into the air, and this time O?Donnell reached it first to knock the ball into the empty net.
Celtic went looking for the equaliser, and Hume opened up the defence with a good flick into the path of Brodie, but Brodie rushed the shot and it was wide.
The second half saw Smith race into the box looking to equalise, but he did win a corner off Moogan. He won another off McNulty when the Motors? man charged down a powerful drive. Nothing came from either, but Celtic were creating chances. They got another when McNulty fouled Hume just outside the ox and earned a yellow card for persistent fouling. Celtic couldn?t convert any of them.
There was a dangerous moment up the other end when Maxfield fouled Garrity near the corner flag and Keeling had to race across to block Rooney?s shot for a corner.
Celtic?s pressure paid off when Smith crossed into the box only for Lawless to raise his arm to block, both linesman and referee were in no doubt, and awarded the penalty. Ellington stepped up, and after a disagreement with the ref about the positioning of the ball on the spot, Ellington struck the penalty. Lake chose right, making a great block, but he was powerless as Ellington followed in and smacked the ball jubilantly into the back of the net to put Celtic back on terms.
What followed was some of the best football played by Celtic this season, and it deserved a winning goal. Debutant Lally put Brodie?s ball just over the bar. Prince won a corner out of Dames, which was cleared back to him, he took the shot and it was cleared off the line by Dames, conceding a second corner. Keeling dove in on the header, only for Garrity to be the man on the spot this time, jumping on the line to deny Keeling the winner. Another corner, this time won by Smith saw the ball flash past the heads of both Keeling and Ellington. With time running out, Smith charged down Lake, forcing him to slice the ball on his goal line, seeing the ball spin out for a corner, which Celtic still couldn?t put past a begrudging Vauxhall defence. From a long throw near the end of the game, Ellington flicked the ball goalwards Lake dropped the ball again, but as Ellington pounced for the follow up, Lake smother the ball with his body.
Celtic dominated proceedings for the last quarter of an hour, and dictated play for much of the second half, but just couldn?t find a winner. More play like that, and Celtic should record their first win in four games next Saturday against Alfreton.