Match Report -
Are we nearly there?
By Iain Benson
Celtic went to Scarborough knowing that at least a point was needed to ensure that we stayed ahead of the chasing pack ? including Scarborough. Celtic had to ride some hairy moments, but the steadying influence of Mark Haran in the heart of the Celtic defence was surely the reason for Celtic?s first clean sheet since the start of September.

Both sides were going for it, and Scarborough were creating some excellent chances. Beadle advanced and latched onto a loose ball at the edge of the box, but his cross in was claimed by Bishop. Thornton headed a free kick wide when unchallenged at the back post, Vermiglio then lashed a shot over the bar after collecting a flicked on long throw.

Celtic were not sitting back and defending, both sides were going for the win. Sykes nodded down Winn?s shot to Brodie who lashed a low shot to the bottom corner, Wilberforce did well to get down and parry, but Winn had continued his run forcing the Scarborough keeper to smother at his feet.

A free kick conceded by Parr on Thompson a few yards outside the box forced Bishop into a good low block that Celtic scrambled clear under pressure. The home fans thought they?d scored when Lyth nipped into the box and fired off a low shot that caused the side netting to bulge.

Brodie was fouled not long before half time, just outside the box, the free kick was floated in and Parr got a cracking contact on the ball forcing Wilberforce into a flying save. From a Brodie conceded corner at the other end, right on the stroke of half time, an unmarked Vermiglio headed the ball wide.

At the start of the second half, Ellington flicked on Barlow?s low cross into the path of Winn, but Wilberforce was down quickly to bravely smother at Winn?s feet. A whipped in cross by Black was met very well by Barlow, but straight at Wilberforce.

As the half continued, Scarborough were creating more and more chances. Sykes conceded a corner after the defence had been beaten, to stop Thornton the simplest of tap ins. The excellent defending continued, and the whole team was involved, keeping their concentration. A Winn conceded free kick several yards outside the box, was floated in and pinged around inside the box, before Vermiglio stabbed towards goal from close range, and Bishop stuck out a leg to divert it away. Parr proved that he can still head the ball further than anybody in the league when Thornton headed a half cleared corner back into the mix, and his header reached the half way line.

With five minutes to go Celtic managed to break out of their own half thanks to some good control and footwork from substitute Prince, who found Ellington coming into the box with a looping cross. Ellington?s header was goal bound until Hotte got in the way virtually on the goal line.

Scarborough were still looking the more likely to score, and Cartwright should have done better after rounding Kay and Bishop he put his shot into the side netting. As the game went into stoppage time, Kay saved Celtic?s bacon with a goal line clearance off Blott?s low shot through a crowd. Parr then headed the ball high over the stand to concede a second corner. Winn cleared to the halfway line. Scarborough forced another corner out of Celtic; Blott again denied by Kay. From the corner, Parr headed it out of the box; Ellington picked it up, knocked an excellent through ball for Barlow to run onto, from somewhere he found the legs to chase ahead of the solitary Scarborough defender to go one-on-one with Wilberforce.

The Scarborough keeper advanced and Barlow, cool as you like, lifted the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net.

After a game full of superb defending from Celtic, Barlow had nicked it right at the death with a fine goal. Or had he? Kay and Vermiglio clashed on the edge of the box, the decision going Scarborough?s way, the free kick was headed goalward and cleared off the line by Kay. As Celtic hacked clear the corner, the referee sent the travelling fans wild by blowing full time.

Celtic played with heart and spirit and deserved the win just for that.

Whilst the win doesn?t mathematically ensure safety, with Leigh and Scarborough playing each other next Saturday, somebody will drop points leaving only one more relegation spot to be contested. Hopefully, now, a draw will be enough out of Celtic?s remaining two games, at home to Kettering and away at Gainsborough.

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