Match Report -
Celtic profligate
By Iain Benson
Celtic squandered a host of opportunities and added an uncharacteristic defensive performance that saw them lose their second away game on the trot. Fortune smiled on Celtic though, as the teams in the play-off spots all lost, with the side effect of making Kettering uncatchable.

Celtic just could not hit the target at the Staffsmart Stadium. In the opening ten minutes, there was a trio of corners as Boston defended heroically to keep the ball from Wright's goal, with Payne and Sykes both denied by defenders, and from an Ellender foul, Dean blazed over the bar after avoiding the attentions to get a shooting chance. Some magic footwork from Torpey got him space at the edge of the box, but Weaver was in the way and Hall was put through by a superb Winn ball but took the ball a little too far, and from an acute angle smashed the ball into the side netting.

Just when it looked like Boston were going to be overrun, a foul by Payne twenty-five yards out was whipped in to the back post. Gamble watched it, and must have though it would drift harmlessly out until Nuttall appeared as if by magic at the back post to nod the ball in from the tightest of angles past Gamble and between Sykes and Smart on the line. It was a soft goal to conceded, and Celtic responded positively.

Hall latched onto Torpey's cross but volleyed over the bar as Celtic continued to fail to hit the target, and Boston continued to defend in numbers. A pair of corners before Payne headed wide and it looked like Celtic would be back in the game in no time, but Boston broke from their own half and with two passes, Rowan found himself at the edge of the box, with only Woolliscroft to beat. Woolliscroft inexplicably allowed Rowan to move more centrally unchallenged, and though Gamble through himself at the shot that lacked any real power, it was well placed just beyond his fingertips.

Celtic continued to create, and waste, chance after chance. Smart fired hopelessly wide from distance, and Winn got three chances in quick succession, but fired into a dense crowd for the first, and over for the next two to leave Celtic trailing 2-0 at the interval.

Boston started the second half the stronger, with Celtic having changed formations and still adjusting, Nuttall and Rowan shooting wide before Dean picked up a Meechan through ball and took on Matthews. Matthews did well at stymieing Dean's advances as the two twisted and turned, but a yard form the six yard box, Dean got ahead of Matthews who slid through the back of Dean bringing him down.

Smart stepped up to take the spot kick, but it was low and hard down the middle and smacked against Wright's legs. Celtic's heads must have dropped and Boston's must have picked up again, because they raced down the other end and won a corner. Gamble couldn't keep hold of the corner and Nuttall was on hand to stab in the loose ball and give Boston a three goal lead.

Torpey decided to get a goal back and set off for the Boston box, with the aid of Barwick he got to the edge of the box, and fired in a low shot beyond the tips of Wright's fingers. Suddenly Celtic started to put together some flowing moves and Torpey nearly added to his previous goal, shooting wide as Celtic threatened an unlikely comeback. Woolliscroft fired over the bar from outside the box, but once again, Celtic were unable to hit the target, whilst Boston, full of confidence were trying to increase their lead, Nuttall and Talbot both firing high and wide.

The last fifteen minutes was Celtic camped in Boston's half, but woefully inaccurate with their shooting, Dean firing wide, Barwick volleying narrowly over the angle, and Torpey hitting the side netting to finish the game with two in three shots failing to hit the target.

That loss meant Celtic could no longer catch Kettering, and Kettering are now officially champions. However, Celtic still hold onto second spot, and with three home games left to the end of the season will be hoping to put the Boston blip behind them to take nine points from nine and go into the play offs in a positive frame of mind.

1Wright, Chris  
2Matthews, Tom  
3Green, Liam  
4Ellender, PaulYellow Card 
5Weaver, Simon  
6Bloomer, Matt  
7Joyce, Ben  > 61
8Nicholls, Ashley  
9Froggatt, Jon  
10Nuttell, Micky  > 77
11Rowan, Jon  > 70
12Crane, Tony  
14Thompson, LeeYellow Card < 61
15Leabon, Kieran  < 77
16Stevenson, Jon  
17Talbot, Stewart  < 70