Suspected Broken Arm for Phil Marsh
Sat, 28th August
In a game of precious few chances, the talking point was the injury to Phil Marsh.
Celtic started brightly enough, with Jody Banim firing a free kick over the crossbar, whilst at the other end, Steve Woods and Tim Ryan provided experienced cover, restricting Nuneaton Town to distance shots, Kyle Storer and Simon Forsdick both firing wide from distance. Jody Banim limped off after straining his hamstring, and was replaced by Jack Rea, and Celtic were reduced to Connor Jennings up front on his own after Phil Marsh was hauled back when put through by Greg Wilkinson, landing awkwardly and requiring an ambulance. The incident was missed by the referee as he was more concerned with a bad challenge by Greg Wilkinson that resulted in Simon Forsdick getting own back with a very late challenge, that resulted in Forsdick getting booked for that, and Wilkinson for the earlier challenge. The assault by Gareth Dean on Marsh that could see Celtic's main striker out of contention for several weeks, went unpunished, despite the linesman seeing it, and flagging Marsh offside!
Insult was added quite literally to injury, when Tim Ryan completely failed to passback to Jan Budtz in the torrential rain, and Justin Marsden picking up the loose ball, advancing on Budtz and squaring to his strike partner Lee Moore to tap in from six yards.
Phil Marsh had been replaced by d?butante Ryan Crowther, and at the start of the second half, his cross turned shot lacked the power to beat Danny Alcock in the Nuneaton Goals. Ten minutes later, and Celtic were two behind when Tim Ryan pulled back Lee Moore some twenty-five yards from goal. He could have seen red, but was far enough away to warrant a yellow only. However, it was close enough for Kyle Storer and he screamed an excellent free kick over the wall and Budtz and into the top corner.
Crowther showed a lack of match fitness and was replaced by Callum Warburton with fifteen minutes to go, he set up Greg Wilkinson, but Wilkinson hit it with the outside of his boot, spinning the shot well wide. However, Wilkinson made up for it, when he put the ball through for Connor Jennings to burst onto, beating the offside trap, turning the ball with his chest to give half a yard of space, and stroking the shot past Alcock.
Celtic played excellent possession football, with Nuneaton pushed further and further back, but the chances were just not coming, the Nuneaton defence holding firm, with the only chance of note a pull back from Warburton to Wilkinson, but though the Celtic captain got full blooded contact on the ball, he shot wide.
Despite losing two thirds of their attacking options in the first half, and conceding two goals, Celtic continue to look like they are improving, and there is still plenty of promise to be talken from the loss.