Celtic threw everything at Corby town throughout the game, and came away with nothing thanks to great defending, and superb keeping.
Corby took the lead early on, when Celtic failed to clear a free kick, Tom McGowan heading the half cleared free kick back to Carl Piergianni. His shot wasn’t powerful, but it was well placed, curled just beyond the fingertips of Alex Cairns. Celtic came back strongly, Tom Buckley placing his shot to the side of Paul Walker, who got down quickly, whilst Laird’s shot on the turn flew just wide.
At the other end, it should have been two for the visitors when Cairns saved superbly from McGowan, only for the rebound to fall to Marc Manga, who fired into the side netting with the goal at his mercy. Despite the odd flurry of attacking football from the Steelmen, this was about Celtic attacking, and Corby defending. Corby were defending so deep, even Tim Ryan got far enough forward for a shot, although it was powerful, it was straight at Walker, whilst Buckley’s power drive would have beaten the keeper, but for a stuck out leg from goal-scorer, Piergianni back in his more usual defensive role.
Jamie Mullan was again terrorising a leftback, and almost curled a shot into the top corner, whilst substitute Adam Pepper was unlucky to see his low strike loop wide after Lewis Webb got in the way. Adam Pepper’s cleverly lifted ball over the defence let Jamie Mullan in on goal, only to be denied by a superb save from the Corby keeper. Paul Malone was the next to put his body on the line, after Liam Richardson upended Mullan and Kristian Platt’s powerful free kick was nicked just wide by the knee of Malone.
The second half saw more of the same, a curling free kick from Callum Warburton athletically tipped away by Walker and Jamie Mullan was desperately unlucky when his curling shot from an acute angle rounded the keeper only for the solid Paul Malone to stick out a leg and divert the shot onto the post.
Joel Bembo-Leta had been brought on to provide strength at the front after Mitchell Austin was injured in a clash of heads, and his surging run got Celtic back into the game as he was body checked by Piergianni in the box. Kristian Platt stepped up to take the penalty, and Walker will be glad he dived the wrong way, as the penalty would have taken his hands off had he got to it.
All Celtic needed to do was keep it tight, and keep playing the way they were, but stil congratulating themselves on getting level, a cheap foul by Warburton on McGowan was floated in by Webb and nobody picked up Jason Crowe who came in at the back post and planted his header into the back of the net to restore Corby’s lead.
Celtic had it all to do again, and did deserve something from the game as they kept coming at the visitors, Platt firing a free kick narrowly wide, Laird’s shot just rising over the bar, and then Mullan getting a chance on target only for another great save from Walker. Adam Pepper’s effort was goal-bound also, but Nat Wedderburn, who had been outstanding all game, got his body in the way, at the expense of a corner. Warburton tried a cheeky near post corner that almost fooled Walker, and would have crept in, but the Corby keeper kept it out.
Right at the death, Mark Lees could have grabbed a point for Celtic when he came sneaking into the box from a free kick and planted his header towards the top corner. It had goal written all over it, until the strong hand of Walker pushed it over the bar, and earned the three points for the visitors.
Celtic can hold their heads up for the game, Corby came with a game plan, and adapted to Celtic exceptional well, and although the lion-share of the game was in Celtic’s favour, Corby’s defensive performance was what got them the points.
|3||Richardson, Liam||> 45|
|9||Manga, Marc||> 87|
|11||Moreman, Josh||> 90|
|12||Horne, Nathan||< 45|
|14||Kaziboni, Greg||< 90|
|15||Viera, Avelino||< 87|