Celtic suffered their second defeat of the season at a cold Northolme against a hard working Gainsborough side.
Celtic were still on the coach in the opening minutes when Ryan Kendall picked up a loose pass in the middle of the park and raced straight towards the Celtic goal, hitting his shot on the run with a good finish that Budtz couldn’t reach. After the goal, Gainsborough sat back and invited Celtic onto them, which they did.
A precision shot from Connor Jennings had Kenny Arthur scrambling across the face to tip the ball around for a corner; with Gainsborough struggling to clear the ball fell to Joel Bembo-Leta who snatched at his shot lifting the ball over the bar. Greg Wilkinson and Phil Marsh both went close whilst at the other end Kendall went closer with a flashing shot across Budtz’s goal. Steve Brogan made enough space at the box for a shot, but Arthur caught at the second attempt. As the half wore on, it looked like a matter of time before Celtic would score, with Jenning’s header narrowly wide off Bembo-Leta’s cross, and both Marsh and Wilkinson forcing Arthur into decent stops. Right before the interval, Trinity came close to doubling their lead from a corner, with Budtz beaten, Luke Waterfall’s ball in was headed away by Andy McWilliams.
The second half went from bad to worse for Celtic. From looking like they would get something out of the game, a moment of madness undid Celtic’s aspirations. Paul Connor saw his looping effort well caught by Budtz before Wilkinson’s dallying on the ball allowed Mettam to take the ball and fire home with a decent finish.
Celtic came back straight from the kick off, some good build up play led to Arthur Gnahoua feed Jennings but he fired straight at Kenny Arthur in the Trinity nets, moments later, after a double sub from Celtic that saw Saturday’s hero, Craig Hobson and Mitchell Austin come on for Arthur Gnahoua and Jack Rea, there was a mountain to climb for Celtic. A lax pass played Paul Connor in, despite a lunging tackle from Chris Lynch, he kept the ball and forced Budtz into a great reaction save, only for Leon Mettam to pop up and smash the rebound into the back of the net.
Celtic were not out of the game by any stretch, and grabbed a deserved goal back, though there was a moment of controversy around the goal. Marsh, in full flight, dead centre, knocked the ball past Arthur in the Trinity goals, only to be snatched out of the air by Arthur and brought crashing down. Incredibly, despite landing on the penalty spot, the referee decided Marsh had been heading away from goal and Arthur escaped with a mere caution when even Arthur must have thought he was going to be leaving the field. Marsh stepped up to take the penalty himself, and Arthur almost got a hand to the ball, but the penalty was too good, and Celtic had reduced the deficit.
However, Celtic just could not get their passing game together, and lost the ball too often in the middle of the park. Gavin Cowan brought the best out of Budtz, who’s flying one handed save denied Cowan from a corner, and Budtz was there again to deny Paul Connor, who must have thought he’d scored with his effort. It summed up the half for Celtic that, for all their possession, their best chance came from a free kick in stoppage time that Brogan curled just over the bar.
Whether the game would have been changed had Kenny Arthur been dismissed as he should have been is a moot point. He wasn’t, and Celtic remain six points behind league leaders Hyde.
|6||Williams, Jon||> 72|
|8||Williams, Ryan||> 78|
|9||Kendall, Ryan||> 32|
|12||Yates, Jamie||< 78|
|15||Mettam, Leon||< 32|
|17||Leary, Michael||< 72|