Match Report -
A trio of dubious decisions denies Celtic three points
By Iain Benson
Celtic started the game brightly, with Briggs and Wood both getting early shooting opportunities to warm up Coates in the home nets, and Ellington fired into Coates midriff, before Torpey cut inside and drove low and hard forcing Coates into another stop, without having really been tested. Keeling came to the rescue for Celtic, deflecting Rooney?s goal-bound effort away for a corner, in a match that was one-way traffic, with it only a matter of time before Celtic scored. Barwick came close; testing Coates from the edge of the box, but Coates was up to it, tipping the ball over the bar. Minutes later, and Woolliscroft burst forward, pulled the ball back for Joynes to curl a beauty of a shot beyond the reach of Coates with minutes left on the clock.

The first moment of controversy came moments later, after Torpey had cut inside and laid the ball off to Ellington. Griffiths swept Torpey?s feet from under him with an audible crack on Torpey?s shin, with ball already played away, the referee ideally placed, and the foul committed just inside the eighteen yard box, Celtic stopped expecting the spot kick, but the blatant foul was waved away, and Vauxhall broke, with play stopped when the referee realised Torpey wasn?t getting up.

There was no love lost between the travelling fans and the referee as the two teams headed inside for the interval, but there was no indication as yet that Celtic wouldn?t go on to secure the three points. After the restart, it was clear Vauxhall had other ideas, and they started getting in among the Celtic defence, with Noon testing Phillips early on. However, Celtic pushed forward, with Wood forcing an excellent diving save from Coates, before a second moment of controversy as Noone pushed Williams?s shot away from goal with his hand, again no penalty was forthcoming, and the referee awarded a corner.

Joynes tried a repeat trick with a decent effort that required Coates to go full stretch to deny Joynes his second of the match, with Coates blocking well from Sykes?s close range header.

After Woolliscroft looked to have cleanly taken the ball off Nelson just outside the Celtic box, a free kick was awarded as Nelson went over Woolliscroft?s body. The Celtic wall jumped in unison, and Griffith?s free kick took a nick off somebody?s foot, deflecting it into the bottom corner for Vauxhall?s equaliser. The goal buoyed the resurgent home team and deflated Celtic somewhat, with Nelson getting onto a looping corner and heading into Phillips?s arms.

Barlow came on for Williams, and immediately set about the home defence, cutting back from the by-line and trying an acute angled shot that Coates did well to save. It was end to end stuff now, and Nelson and Rooney both tested Phillips as they looked for the equaliser, Phillips doing well one-on-one with Rooney. Burke and Noone should have done better for the hosts having got behind the Celtic defence, but both shot considerably wide of the mark, as the game went towards the last few minutes.

Ellington got onto a lifted ball from Barwick, and lashed it narrowly over the bar, and Briggs and Sykes both had efforts stopped well by Coates as Celtic through everything forward in the closing minutes. In stoppage time, Joynes was released by a well weighted ball from Ellington, and with only the keeper to beat, rounded Coates and had the goal at his mercy. Coates grabbed Joynes?s ankle, presumably playing the percentage game, with Joynes about to tap into an empty net. Coates still had hold of Joynes?s ankle as the home defence got back to clear the loose ball. If anything, it was a clearer penalty than the first incident, but again nothing was forthcoming, and Celtic left with a solitary point and a feeling of being robbed.

1Coates, James  
2Owens, Lee  
3Egerton, Jonathon  
4Brannan, GedYellow Card 
5Griffiths, Alan  
6Holmes, Jordan  
7Noon, KarlYellow Card 
8Burke, Mattie  
9Nelson, Rio  > 88
10Rooney, ThomasYellow Card 
11Noone, Chris  > 88
12McFadden, Patrick  < 88
14Hannigan, Tom  
15Wright, Tony  < 88
16Smith, Keith  
17Holden, James  
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