Celtic failed to capitalise on other results going our way to get back into the play-offs with just two more games to go after Guiseley scored against the run of play, and then went on to dominate.
Celtic were on top from the kick off, with Steve Drench making a fine double fisted save as Ollie Banks drove into the box and unleashed a thunderbolt from an angle, before a succession of corners had the visitors on the back foot. Guiseley’s first chance was a lofted shot from James Walshaw with Jan Budtz barely having to move. Chris Lynch was unlucky, firing a corner back in that Guiseley couldn’t clear, but sending it over the bar, whilst Banks fired low and hard just wide, followed up by a twist and shot that Drench collected well. It looked like a Celtic goal was a matter of time, until Tim Ryan slid in to dispossess Walshaw at the edge of the Celtic box and was penalised both by a booking and a dangerous ball into the box that Celtic struggled to clear, Michael Burns lobbing it back in for Simon Ainge to nod through a crowd, and score. There was a call for a foul on Budtz as the initial cross came in, but in the melee it wasn’t seen.
Seconds later, and Celtic were shell shocked just before half time as Ciaran Toner got round the back of Rhys Meynell to loft a ball to the back post, where Walshaw was on hand to grab Guiseley’s second of the half.
The second half saw Guiseley consolidate, and whereas in the first half Celtic had been getting through the backline with relative ease, now it was hard. Celtic needed to get back into the game, but this was made virtually impossible ten minutes into the half when a Guiseley corner was nodded back into the mix by Danny Boshell for Michael Burns to turn past Budtz and give the visitors an unassailable lead.
Guiseley were content to let Celtic take them game to them with such a commanding lead, and Celtic did create chances in the last twenty minutes. Greg Wilkinson was unlucky as Guiseley defended a free kick in numbers, Ainge getting a thigh in the way of a driven shot through the crowd. Steve Brogan made enough space for a shot but it sailed over the bar before spinning a free kick just the wrong side of the upright. Mitchell Austin brought a corner down and fired towards goal, but again bodies on the line prevented it from going in. Wilkinson tried a trademark thirty yard effort, but it lacked the height or the power to beat Drench who was in excellent form, as he showed from Ollie Banks’s powerful diagonal shot from fairly close range.
James Walshaw may have harmed Guiseley’s play-off hopes as their top striker will now have to miss both opening play-off legs after elbowing Mark Lees while waiting for a corner, leaving the fullback on the floor. Both referee and assistant saw the incident and there was no choice but to send one of the league’s top scoring strikers straight off.
Austin and Brogan both went agonisingly close before the half went into stoppage time when Guiseley’s defending got truly frantic under a concerted late onslaught from Celtic. Ainge again had to block when Drench missed Djenny Bembo-Leta’s low effort from six yards, the rebound falling to Wilkinson, with Drench getting up and making an excellent stop. There was still time for Drench to deny both Brogan and Austin very late into stoppage time before Guiseley took the three points with three goals to stay two points behind first placed Hyde.
Celtic absolutely have to win at Gloucester next week, followed by a convincing win over Hinckley in case it goes to goal difference.
|3||Merris, Dave||> 15|
|9||ONeill, Joe||> 87|
|11||Boshell, Danny||> 73|
|12||Burns, Michael||< 15|
|14||Baldry, Simon||< 73|
|16||Ellington, Lee||< 87|