With Celtic having plenty of time and space in the midfield, chances were always going to come, and Barlow could have had two in the opening quarter of an hour but shot wide twice, including blazing over the bar after Torpey had found him in the box at the near post. With a massed defence, it seemed that long shots were the way to go, and Platt tried a couple of distance efforts, but neither lacked the power to get beyond Lindley in the Hucknall goal.
A goal for Celtic just seemed a matter of time, and it came after some fine play that saw Woolliscroft overlap with Battersby, a fine reverse ball finding him with the space to take the shot, which Lindley saved superbly, tipping the ball out for a corner. Torpey whipped in a near post ball and Briggs, who was superb all game, stooped in and nodded the corner home.
Celtic perhaps should have gone two up before the interval, but Meynell's effort was well tipped over the bar by Lindley, and he was well placed to get behind Torpey's effort from the edge of the box that he saw late. Just before the interval, and Barlow broke free, but Lindley was there again to deny him with another full stretch save to put the ball out for a corner.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with Celtic spraying the ball around the field looking for a way through the Hucknall back seven, Torpey coming close with a stinging effort that Lindley caught at the second attempt, and Battersby curled one inches over the bar. Smart tried a low drive from twenty-five yards, but it skimmed past the post as Hucknall lived on luck. After a foul by Sucharewycz, Keeling got onto the free kick, but lifted it over Lindley and the bar. A shot on the turn by Barlow went across the face and out, and Battersby forced Lindley into another decent stop, punching the ball over his bar from the rising shot. Joynes was found by a spread ball from Battersby at the corner of the box, with a little bit of time and space, and tried to curl the ball into the top corner, missing the target by mere inches.
With the score at 1-0 after seventy minutes, Hucknall would always pose a threat, and after Smart put the ball out for a corner under pressure from Ricketts, the near post scramble saw Hucknall throw people at the loose ball, it looked as though it had been blocked on the line by Phillips and then Keeling, but somehow, Bacon forced it across the line. A scrappy goal, but it put Hucknall back on terms, and once again, they all retreated to the edge of the box to try and defend the point.
Celtic were almost immediately back on terms when Keeling got onto a free kick, but Lindley got across to put the ball for a series of corners that ended when Hucknall cleared as far as Joynes, who was flattened by Meikle within Smart range.
Torpey rolled the ball to Smart and Smart unleashed a twenty-five yard drive that flew arrow straight into the top corner with Lindley left grasping air with just over ten minutes remaining.
Time ticked towards Celtic's third home win of the campaign, when Briggs was harshly adjudged to have fouled Ricketts near the touchline in stoppage time. Hucknall piled forward, putting more people up front than they had for the rest of the match; for the first time, the free kick floated in by Wilson was not aimed at Ricketts at the near post, but instead floated to the back post where Sucharewycz escaped his marker to stoop and direct the ball past Phillips and snatch the unlikeliest of draws.
The point still puts Celtic into the top five, albeit on goal difference.
|2||Smith, Mark||> 45|
|8||Kettle, Dave||> 45|
|16||Mitchell, Paul||< 45|
|17||Walters, Cashel||< 45|