Match Report -
An additional 90 seconds cost Celtic 2 points
By Debbie Taylor

Celtic dominated this game, and really should have won, but for a ludicrous four and a half minutes stoppages, when three was indicated.

Celtic's dominance started early, with Parton chasing and keeping a loose ball in play, before lobbing it across the face for Shepherd running in, but he couldn't keep his header down, and it went over the bar.

Worksop are a solid outfit, and they weren't about to roll over, and indeed, they got a break from the man in black. Bambrook went down very easily under Black's challenge, and a free kick was given. A short free kick was given to Dempsey who fired an absolute blinder of a shot from nearly thirty yards, screaming past the stretching Robinson into the top corner ? unstoppable.

Celtic continued to play as they had been doing, building from the back, and chinks appeared in the Worksop defence. Black's cross was chested down by Wilford into the path of Parton, but he wellied his shot over the bar. Wharton then got down the line but Dudgeon managed to head his cross out for a corner. Sykes got great contact on the ball, but the ball bounced off the underside of the bar and was scrambled clear.

Cleary brought down Steve Smith near the dugouts and Shepherd floated a dangerous ball into the box. Dudgeon headed out for a corner. Worksop pulled everybody into the box, but it was Bowling who got the touch, putting it out for a corner. Worksop tried to clear, but Smith won a corner out of Dudgeon. Worksop were living dangerously, and it was only the slightest touches from Bowling that put the ball out for another corner.

The corner came out to Keeling, who headed over the top of the defence and put the ball in the back of the net. The celebrations were short lived: the linesman had his flag up. Wilford was offside, stood by the post doing his best not to interfere, but adjudged to have done so anyway, perhaps because he moved towards the ball through goal poacher's reactions.

Celtic kept going and Steve Smith found Parton with a great through ball that split the defence. Bowling was off his line quickly, and Parton tried to lob him, but the ball scraped the post on the way out for a goal kick. Wilford trapped and laid off to Bonsall just outside the box, he struck a powerful shot through a crowd; Bowling saw it late and made a good stop. Steve Smith continued to get the better of his man and put another good ball in for Parton. Parton intelligently laid the ball off to Wharton who tried to scuff the ball past the keeper, but Bowling was too wise and scrabbled the ball into his grasp. Dudgeon clumsily challenged Wilford just outside the box. Shepherd's free kick was curled just past the post.

Somewhat against the run of play, Worksop broke down the flanks, with Hansen evading Caldecott and whipping a cross over the defence to Cleary whose header went back across the face and wide. Cleary got a better chance moments later, his stubbed ball left Robinson stranded, but Keeling was there to clear off the line.

The linesman had to do the referee's job as Bonsall lobbed the ball over Hansen who blatantly handled it. The referee was content to let it go, but the assistant insisted and Celtic got their free kick just outside the box. Shepherd's free kick was excellent, bending and pacey, tipped around the post by Bowling. Smith brought the half cleared corner down well, but his shot went over the bar.

Celtic should definitely have had a penalty as Sykes ran through the box to go one-on-one with Bowling. Thorpe couldn't catch him and instead settled for shoving him two handed in the back, near the penalty spot, and Bowling could scramble the ball around the post. The referee was well positioned, and ignored it despite protestations from the Celtic players.

Wilford could then be forgiven for leaning heavily on Thorpe as the corner came in, to nod the ball into the back of the net, believing that it is acceptable. However, apparently when an attacker does it to a defender, that's a foul, but the other way around is fine. It was going to be one of those games. Wharton did manage to win a corner, but Wilford couldn't steer his header towards the goal.

However, Celtic's pressure finally paid off with a goal that stood when Bonsall fed the ball through the middle for Wilford to blast towards the keeper. Bowling could only Parry, and Parton was there to dart past his marker and prod the ball into the back of the net.

Celtic continued to play some silky football, and Wilford's lob over the defence allowed Wharton to beat the offside trap and advance one-on-one with Bowling. Bowling narrowed the angle, and Wharton tried to chip the ball over him. Bowling got just enough of a finger tip on it to divert the ball over the post. Bowling got his palm on the corner conceding a second corner. Bonsall latched onto the half clearance, and blasted through the crowd. Dudgeon unwittingly deflected the ball for a third corner, which Bowling palmed away for a forth, this was cleared, but the pressure didn't go as Dudgeon reacted to Bonsall's presence with a lashed out elbow. The linesman again had to insist that the referee do something. Unfortunately for Dudgeon there is only one punishment ? red card.

Shepherd's free kick was on target, but didn't trouble Bowling.

Sykes scuffed a clearance, allowing Bambrook to nick the ball and go one-on-one with Robinson. Robinson narrowed the angle, and Bambrook lobbed him. The ball came back down off the bar, and Caldecott cleared off the line. Substitute Jackson got his head on the corner, but put his header right into Robinson's arms.

Worksop started brightly in the second half, and they didn't appear to have one less man. Cleary nipped between Caldecott and Sykes and had just enough space to fire off a shot, but it was into the side netting.

Celtic finally got a second (allowed) goal through the industry of Steve Smith. He battled his way past a stalwart defence before feeding the ball through the last two defenders for Wilford to administer the coup de grace side footing the ball past Bowling and putting Celtic into the lead.

Celtic should have gone on to make the extra man count, but seemed instead content to try and hold the slender lead. Wharton's clumsy challenge on Dempsey near the player's entrance allowed Dempsey to whip a ball to the back post, where Sykes had to head out for a corner. The corner was half cleared as far as Thorpe who blasted it back through the crowd. Robinson saw it late and made a decent stop.

Ben Smith replaced Steve Smith, and his first job was to whip a superb ball into the box for Wilford, but Thorpe read it well, and headed clear. Wharton tried to put it back in, but his ball was too far for everybody.

Bambrook powered his way past Whealing (on for Caldecott), and his cross to the back post turned into a shot as it flashed just past the upright. Bambrook goes to ground with alarming ease for one so large, and as he tangled with Black just inside Celtic's half, he collapsed and won a free kick. It was well worked, ending with Bambrook beyond the defence, but the angle was tight and his shot was high.

Thorpe shoved shepherd off the ball with a two-armed challenge, and fed the ball to Townsend. Sykes' challenge was half of that perpetrated seconds earlier, and Worksop won a free kick on the edge of the Celtic box. Mistakes are part of the game, but the referee was completely inconsistent in his decisions. Justice was done when Dempsey put the free kick over the bar.

Hayward was brought on for Wilford, and almost scored with his first touch. A headed lob from Bonsall was flicked on by Hayward over the advancing Bowling, and it came back off the crossbar. Cleary had to be substituted moments later, as in the build up to the Hayward chance; he'd clashed heads with Bonsall, and required stitches. After the restart, Wharton squeezed the ball through to Parton, but the box was congested, and Parton couldn't quite squirrel the ball over to Hayward who was clear at the back post.

Worksop continued to play like they had eleven men, and Townsend brought down Bowling's punt really well, feeding it to Bambrook. His shot whistled across the face of goal. Bambrook again went down under the most innocuous of challenges, this time right on the edge of the Celtic area as Black took the ball off him. Keeling cleared the free kick. Bambrook moaned constantly at the referee for not giving a penalty, and was shut up with a yellow card.

The final injustice came over a minute after the three indicated. Despite no stoppages in the stoppage time, as Celtic had tired to play possession football it was in the 94th minute as Bowling pumped the ball down the field. Whealing squared it to Black, but he slipped as Dempsey bore down on him. Dempsey didn't need asking twice, he raced into the box, Robinson came out, and Dempsey curled the ball around him and into the net.

Celtic had just enough time from the restart to get the ball to the edge of the Worksop box before the referee blew on 95 minutes. Celtic were well and truly mugged in this game. But it was their own fault in a way. After gaining the lead, they attempted to play possession and frustrate Worksop instead of taking advantage of the extra man to put the game beyond the visitors. So if they were mugged it was because they were flashing their jewellery. However, other results have gone Celtic's way, and there is now a two-point gap between Celtic and the drop zone. With one of the hardest run-ins of the relegation teams, Celtic are going to need every point that they can get.

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