Celtic led for eighty minutes, but a lapse of concentration from a set-piece left Celtic lamenting missed chances.
Ninety seconds into the match, Mitchell Austin was off like a rocket, he skipped past Josh Brizell and fired in a low cross the Phil Marsh, his back to goal, but Marsh had the time, space and composure to turn and fire a precision shot past former Celtic keeper David Carnell. Connor Jennings came close to doubling the lead with a n inch perfect Steve Brogan cross, but the ball bounced off his foot into the grateful arms of Carnell, and Carnell was at his best to deny Brogan’s free kick with his feet as Marsh came sniffing for the rebound. The ball skipped ahead of Jennings when he only had Carnell to beat, and a terrible clearance left Marsh with the goal at his mercy, but he was so surprised that he blazed over.
Hyde had a lot to do in the second half, and started like a train, Gary Lowe’s words ringing in their ears. Danny Broadbent got an early chance, but hardly troubled Jan Budtz, whilst Reece Grey fired over from a set piece, and Budtz was well placed to make Hall’s header from the corner look simple. Substitute James Ellison came close, but Budtz made an excellent stop, whilst at the other end, Marsh got a great opportunity, but Carnell kept Hyde in the game with another full stretch stop.
A simple corner was Celtic’s undoing, nobody picking up captain Gianluca Havern as he came unmarked into the middle to meet the corner and equalise for the home side. Hyde seemed content with the one goal advantage, and kept Celtic at bay for the last ten minutes as the visitors came looking for the winner. With seconds left on the clock, Greg Wilkinson could have been the hero of Stalybridge when he cut inside after Connor Jennings’s had already turned the Hyde defence inside out, but Carnell had his near post well covered and gratefully clutched the powerful shot into his chest.
Celtic get another go at getting three points closer to Hyde on New Year’s Day.
|3||Williams, Sean||> 87|
|7||Moses, Tunji||> 74|
|9||Broadbent, Danny||> 62|
|15||Winter, Harry||< 87|
|16||Ellison, James||< 62|
|17||Kelly, Ashley||< 74|