The hosts had the better of the opening thirty minutes, but struggled to get chances, and when they did, Phillips was in super form. Just before the quarter hour, Meredith forced Phillips into a good stop that he had to hold, with Fearns coming in. Moments later and Brown forced Phillips into another good stop, one he could only parry, Moore coming in blazed wide the rebound.
Celtic's first shot came over twenty minutes in, with Torpey cutting in from the wing and dodging the challenges before finding the space to curl a shot just wide of the far post. That shot signalled an upping of Celtic's game, as the one-way traffic was stopped and Celtic got a foothold. Just past the half hour and Briggs made a trademark run on his first game back from injury, culminating with a superb flying save from Young in the Telford nets. After a silly foul from Adams just outside the box, bringing down Torpey after the Celtic man had already lost the ball, Smart could not put enough bend on the ball to bring it back around the wall, and it whistled just past the post.
The second half started even, with possession and chances see-sawing. Torpey found the space for a powerful drive that saw another flying save from Young, tipping the ball over the bar. Telford didn't deal with the corner particularly well, but Torpey's shot off a half clearance lacked the power to trouble Young.
Fearns should have opened the scoring when the ball bounced awkwardly for Keeling to deal with and the former Droylsden hit man raced around him to go one on one with Phillips but smashed his shot well wide of the mark.
As the half went on, it began to look like Celtic were aiming for a goalless draw, creating less up front and concentrating on stopping Telford. This meant more chances for Telford, with Rodgers skimming shot apparently saved by Phillips using the power of his mind, for his hand was a good foot from the ball as it went out for a corner. Brown had a couple of efforts off corners, but seemed to have forgotten where the goal was, putting each effort wide of the mark.
In a rare foray, Barwick tried an effort from thirty yards, aiming to add to his scrapbook of magnificent goals this season, but missed the target.
Adams saw his shot blocked on route to goal by Keeling, at the expense of another Telford corner. Celtic struggled to get the ball clear as Telford piled into the box. And it was a set piece that undid Celtic with ten minutes remaining.
A free kick lofted into the box, Celtic tried to smash it clear, but Byrne's clearance came to Jagielka who fired it back in, deflecting to the back post where Turner was on hand to turn the ball in.
Celtic were unable to change gear with so little time remaining, and had to survive a couple more scares, including a late save from Meredith's shot.
This leaves Celtic two places outside of the play-off spots, with the festive double header against Hyde a chance to cheer up the supporters and gain some points. Celtic are not out of it yet, and there are still more than half the games to go.
|5||Khela, Indy||> 69|
|6||Blakeman, Liam||> 81|
|7||Adams, Jon||> 77|
|12||Jagielka, Steve||< 77|
|15||Vermiglio, Jamie||< 81|
|16||Turner, Jimmy||< 69|