Match Report -
Stalemate
By Iain Benson

With both Celtic and Buxton readying themselves for the start of the new campaign, there were strong squads on show from both sides. Celtic rested Mark Lees, Jamie Mullan and Callum Warburton, and showcased new signings, Andy Ralph, Jordan Barrow, Jonny Lindsay and Corey Gregory.

Buxton acquitted themselves admirably, but had Tom Turner their new goalkeeper, to thank that they didn’t go home on the end of a spanking, with a string of fine saves through the match. The first came inside ten minutes when Mitchell Austin’s drive was well parried by Turner, and the keeper was lucky two minutes later when Austin tried to hook a shot from an almost impossible angle over his own head, a defender and Turner, only to narrowly clear the bar. Adam Pepper, another of this season’s new signings, had a corking curling effort from twenty yards, and Turner got down and across well to save, before Turner provided a flying two handed save off another Austin power drive. Ex Celtic fullback, Grant Black, made the mistake of getting between Greg Wilkinson and goal, requiring treatment after being hit by Wilkinson’s shot, and Turner rounded off the half with an instinctive block from Gregory’s close range effort, twisting and falling on the loose ball before the ex-Blade could pounce and prod home.

Celtic didn’t have it all their own way. Though Andy Ralph had a quiet start to the game, he’d claimed everything that he needed to claim, and distributed the ball well, when he was required to make a save, he did so, diving and palming Dave Haggerty’s close range header from a corner over the bar.

The second half was more muted, but the balance of chances still fell to Celtic, with Jack Laird having an early swerving effort Turner did well to claim at the second attempt, but his stop as Prince Heywood’s pull back for Austin was outstanding, getting across to parry the ball away as Austin slid the ball home. Turner followed this up with fifteen minutes to go, with another flying save off a rising Austin drive from the edge of the box, and was again flying through the air in the last ten minutes as Dennis Sherriff curled a fast, dipping shot towards the top corner from the corner of the box that would have beat many a keeper.

Although Celtic still appear to lack a potent threat up front, they created enough chances that on another day would have gone in, throughout the rest of the field, they look ready and raring for the long trip up to Workington next week.

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