In the opening few minutes, Celtic attacked with intent, and from a corner, the ball fell to Smart, who smacked his shot against the crossbar, the ball falling to Williams who curled the ball back in, and though Turns got a hand to it, he couldn?t keep it out.
Celtic really should have pressed their advantage, but seemed to switch off across the park instead. Sykes let the ball bounce past him (presumably no shout), and as he turned Cogden darted past, latched onto the ball and put Durham back on terms with every blue shirt just watching.
Celtic got back on with the game, and looked the more likely to score, especially when Torpey latched onto a poor clearances from Laws, but with Turns badly positioned, Harrison got in a vital block, and it was Durham who took the lead instead. Calvin Smith walking unimpeded to the touch line, taking the ball around Sykes too easily, and nobody picked up Richardson at the near post who tapped in from close range.
Celtic were a goal down, and needed to get back into the game, but Ellington thundered a shot against the cross bar, and Briggs?s effort from distance was straight at Turns. Turns pumped the ball downfield, the ball coming off a Celtic head in the middle of the park; thinking it had come off a Durham head, Sykes shepherded the ball out for a corner (again, no shout). The ball was swung to the near post, and Cogden was allowed a free header to give Durham a two goal lead.
Celtic were chasing the game now, the two goal cushion allowing Durham to soak up whatever Celtic had to offer, knowing they could cater for a single mistake. And Celtic did throw everything at them. Smart and Torpey both forced Turns into decent stops, whilst Williams fired high over the bar, before Sharpe snuck in on a free kick that wasn?t cleared and headed the ball against the crossbar. Williams had a glorious chance to pull one back when Ellington had done the hard work, the ball falling to Williams who only needed a toe poke at the back post, and blasted it instead sending the ball high and wide.
Celtic were made to pay for their profligacy when Sharpe was guilty of dwelling on the ball near his own box, and Richardson took the ball off him, rounded Phillips and put the ball in the back of the net right on the stroke of half time.
Changes were made in formation and personnel for Celtic, with Keeling and Barlow coming on for Williams and Sykes.
Celtic?s campaign to start the half well was brought to an abrupt halt when Woolliscroft was scythed down by Dodds, just inside the Durham half. Had Woolliscroft just gone down, the outcome may have been different, but Woolliscroft made sure Dodds stayed down with him, both players getting hurt in the tangle. Dodds was not blameless, but it was Woolliscroft who took all the punishment seeing a straight red.
It wasn?t long before Durham exploited the wide open space where Woolliscroft had been Cogden coming in onto a long ball to Woolliscroft?s corner, and waltzing past the challenges. Phillips came out, and Cogden avoided him with a shot under his body. Briggs went to cover the right back position, and it stopped the forays.
The fight had gone out of Celtic; it showed in their shooting, with Torpey, Barwick and Smart all firing well off target. With Briggs up supporting an attack Durham added further insult when substitute Toft ran into the vacated right back position and latched onto a long through ball, Phillips madder himself big, but Toft just about avoided the Celtic keeper, and though Keeling got back to clear, the ball had crossed the line for Durham?s sixth.
Right at the death, Barlow (on for Torpey) could have got a consolation goal, but despite not having had much to do in the half, Turns did well to get down and tip the ball around for a corner that Celtic pumped aimlessly into the box and was cleared.
Lessons have to be learned from this expensive loss. Durham?s first four goals were all avoidable and gifted. Durham deserved their victory because they took advantage of Celtic?s current frailties. In the past twenty years, only three teams have beaten Celtic by five or more goals at home: Northwich in the Conference National (1993), Crewe in the Cheshire Senior Cup Semi-final (2002) and Workington in the FA Cup at the same stage as this game last season.
|6||Sykes, Paul||> 45|
|7||Torpey, Steve||> 75|
|11||Williams, Chris||> 45|
|14||Barlow, Matty||< 75|
|15||Keeling, Barrie||< 45|
|18||Joynes, Nathan||< 45|
|4||Dodds, Lewis||> 87|
|9||Richardson, Steven||> 61|
|10||Cogden, Gavin||> 79|
|12||Smith, Richard||< 87|
|15||Toft, Jon||< 61|
|16||Johnston, Adam||< 79|