Celtic got a win they so badly needed in Keith Briggs first home game in charge, but Vauxhall made it very difficult.
Vauxhall have had a good season so far, and the reason was clear, as they were well drilled and organised. Former Celt Lloyd Ellams showed he had lost none of his excellent footwork making the space to crack off a shot early on that Matty Urwin had to get down to. And it was the visitors who scored first but not with controversy. A floated free kick was caught in both hands by Urwin, but he was knocked the floor and the ball knocked from his hands, freeing Steve Tames at the back post. There was a defender on the line, but only Andy McWilliams on the line, and Tames should have been flagged offside, with only one player between him and goal. He was not, and the goal stood.
Celtic had to get back into the game, and Obi Anorou battled against some bizarre offside calls to create a couple of chances, flicking a corner toward Zac Jones in the Vauxhall goals, and forced Jones into a fantastic one-on-one save. Celtic looked to clawing their way into the game when Louis Barnes flew through the back of Adam Pepper with a dangerous two footed challenge that left Pepper being stretchered from the pitch, and Barnes dismissed from it. Vauxhall immediately adopted a very defensive line up, and proved impossible to break down for the rest of the half.
What Celtic needed in the second half was pace and accuracy to unlock the resolute defence.
A cracking shot from Lewis Hatch signalled the start of this approach, Jones tipping the ball over the bar, before the mercurial McConville unlocked the double banks with quick feet and a pinpoint pass for Obi Anorou to sweep home from close range with an instinctive finish to set the scores level.
Hatch again forced Jones into a decent stop, before Callum Warburton smashed home as Sean McConville sent Kelvin Bleau scampering along the line, he pulled the ball across the face, evading everybody but Warburton who rifled home.
The bizarre offsides continued, Conal Platt being flagged offside in his own half and Anorou being deemed to interfere with play despite being fifteen yards under a high cross.
A rocket of a shot from Kristian Platt forced Jones into another great save, but it was Conal Platt who gave Celtic a cushion latching onto McConville’s curling pass. Anorou was almost deemed to be interfering with play again as he ran alongside the plainly onside Conal Platt. Platt resisted the urge to play Anorou in, and instead rounded Jones and slotted home.
Vauxhall are something of a comeback team, with last minute goals a speciality especially for Lloyd Ellams. They pressed hard and won a corner. The corner was whipped into the box, getting caught in Joel Bembo-Leta’s feet, and trundling in at the far post, with Urwin forlornly trying to reach it.
This meant Celtic had to hold on for the last ten minutes and Celtic did quite easily, although it required Mark Lees’s backside to deny Lloyd Ellams, and Kelvin Bleau’s nose to deny Danny Fearnhough.
|8||Tames, Steve||> 61|
|9||Stott, Ashley||> 33|
|11||Kosylo, Matty||> 53|
|14||Clair, Karl||< 33|
|15||Rutter, Tom||< 61|
|16||Rugg, Jordan||< 53|