Match Report -
Suicidal Back-Pass hands Oxford a point
By Iain Benson

Celtic threw away a comfortable two goal lead with a defensive mix up and a suicidal back pass the allowed Oxford to leave with a point after Celtic had taken the lead with two great goals.

With midfielder Jordan Barrow in goal after the recall of Alex Cairns by Leeds and both Andy Ralph and Ash Woodhouse out injured, the Celtic back line was going to have to be perfect all night. And for eighty-five minutes it worked.

Chris Hall kicked the night off, forcing visiting keeper Nick Townsend into stopping the ball as he was about to run past him, whilst at the other end Jordan Barrow was forced into a couple of straightforward saves from Louis Joyce. Celtic came closest to scoring when Tom Buckley’s volley from Adam Pepper’s lay off arced over Townsend and crashed against the bar. When the roles were reverse, Pepper looked certain to score, but his effort cleared the bar.

Although Celtic looked like the more dominant team, it took a great save from Barrow to keep the game goalless. Barrow spilled Callum McNish’s low drive and Steve Basham pounced and was denied by a great stop from Barrow.

Celtic finally made the breakthrough their play had warranted when Mark Lees put his head on Adam Pepper’s lifted cross over the defence, with the Celtic fullback still up from an uncleared corner.

Adam Pepper got a goal of his own when Greg Wilkinson and Tom Buckley held off the Oxford defence to lay off Pepper for an absolutely beauty of a goal, curling up and over Townsend and into the top corner.

Celtic should have gone further ahead, Buckley and Wilkinson both spurned good chances, whilst Townsend denied a rocket from Lees as he cut in, and again denied Hall with another good save, tipping the shot out for a corner. Joel Bembo-Leta headed the corner narrowly wide.

Celtic started off the second half playing possession, and when the opportunity presented had a go at goal. Mitchell Austin came the closest, running at goal, and lifting the ball over Townsend, but the Oxford keeper got a touch, and allowed Adam Learoyd to get back and hack clear off the line.

As the game wore on, Celtic looked comfortable, but with five minutes remaining, Oxford got a life line when McNish stole the ball in the box, and fed it to Felipe Barcelos who put the ball past Barrow who had little chance of reaching the shot. This left Celtic with a nervy final five minutes.

And deep into stoppage time, Celtic were made to pay when a very weak header from Bembo-Leta put Jordan Barrow in a whole heap of trouble, his heder going up not back, allowing Felipe Barcelos to take the ball. Barrow made an excellent save but Mark Bell swept in off the wing, collected the loose ball and slotted his shot past Celtic’s stand-in keeper who had done well to get across, to equalise with ninety seconds left on the clock.

1Townsend, Nick  
2Benjamin, Declan  
3Barney, Ryan  > 45
4Malone, Liam  
5Learoyd, Adam  
6Gunn, Andy  
7McEachran, Zac  
8McNish, CallumYellow Card 
9Besham, Steve  > 69
10Joyce, Louis  > 45
11Stonehouse, Paul  
12Barcelos, Felipe  < 45
14Wilmott, Chris  
15Bell, Mark  < 45
16Cook, James  < 69
17Leiva, Juan  
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