Match Report -
Celtic yet to find a win at home
By Iain Benson
Celtic got on top early against a physical Barrow side, but couldn't stay there.

The physical nature of Barrow's play was evident from the off, and Ellington was fouled by McNulty in the first two minutes. Smart floated the free kick to the back post, and Haran marked his return to the team with a trademark thumped header into the top corner after Deasy failed to hold the in-swinger.

Celtic would get several more free kicks around the box, but were unable to convert them, though Bayliss did receive a yellow card for sliding through Hall when he was the last man. Hall perhaps should have doubled Celtic's lead just after when Ellington's lovely ball into his path freed him one-on-one, and though he struck the ball first time, it was straight at Deasy.

Wilson was getting in all of the right positions, but when it came to it, his shooting was woeful, and he screwed his first attempt well wide when in an excellent position to score.

Ellington, at the other end, pulled the ball back from the touchline for Hall at the near post, he got the touch, into the side netting. Burbeary then spiralled a great cross into the box for Barlow running in, a better first touch would have seen Barlow double Celtic's lead, but he couldn't control the ball and it rolled to the keeper. The games second yellow could have been a red for Butler when Barlow sprinted past him, and the Barrow man threw an arm across Barlow's face, but Barrow made it to half time only one goal down and still with eleven men.

The start of the second half saw Barrow playing some good football, and they looked dangerous, Brown attempting a decent distance effort that was fortunately no trouble for Gamble. Wilson then held off Haran and Dudgeon before turning and forcing Gamble into a more than half decent stop. It was beginning to look like Celtic's one goal lead wouldn't be enough.

When Burbeary did get out of the Celtic half he got as far as the Barrow box before Sheridan's slicing challenge brought him down. Burbeary took the free kick himself, curling it over the wall and it crashed down off the bar. It looked like it may have crossed the line, but with Bayliss on the line, Hall took no chances, and nodded the ball over Bayliss and into the net where the ball stayed.

With a two goal cushion, Celtic should have gone on to win, but things deteriorated rapidly for Celtic. Sykes fouled Sheridan in the centre circle and it was lumped into the box. With Brown chasing onto it, Barlow slid through to knock the ball it away. It appeared as though ball was connected with before Brown went over Barlow's leg ? but the referee had other ideas, and awarded Barrow a penalty. Bond took it, bottom left, Gamble guessing top right, and Barrow were only a goal behind again.

Hall got his head on a Smart cross into the box, but he lacked the power to trouble Deasy. Rocca gave the crowd a flash of what might be around the corner when he slipped past two defenders and curled a shot narrowly over the bar with some excellent footwork. At the other end, Thompson could have equalised for the visitors when he threw himself at Rogan's low cross, but it flashed across the face and left Thompson face down in the six yard box.

Winn conceded a corner, Dudgeon headed it away for a second corner. Bayliss got his head on the corner, it was going wide until it struck Hall's leg and sneaked in the near post. Thompson should have given the visitors the three points when he got free in the box and had a simple side foot finish to apply, but blazed over the bar. With just minutes left, a Barlow conceded free kick about thirty yards out was driven into the pack by Bond, it ricocheted about, and required a sharp stop from Gamble to keep Celtic level. The corner was put for a second and then a third corner until Wilson smashed a twenty yard shot over the bar.

Celtic could have snatched it at the death when Barlow put the ball into the path of Sykes, but Sykes's shot was deflected by Henney. It would have been unjust, as a draw was a fair result, with Celtic unable to keep up the first half presence in the second half. That said, the penalty was the softest seen at Bower Fold for many a year, and the second was an unlucky rebound, Hopefully, the first home win of the season can be picked up against Leigh on Bank Holiday Monday.

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