You can't concede four goals in the first half and hope to come back from it, but Celtic showed great character to give it a damn good go.
The first half was a nightmare from start to finish. Danny Newton warmed up his shooting boots, firing straight at Tony McMillan early doors as Celtic struggled to string passes together and were second to every ball, typified by an early corner that had Tamwoth lashing at the ball, and Celtic defending desperately. The best early chance for Celtic fell to Aidan Chippendale from a free kick that swung up and round the wall and back down into James Belshaw's arms.
Then the horror show started, Elliott Durrell not closed down, a cross to the back post, Paul Green not closed down, a cross back to Elliott Durrell who shaped up nicely and volleyed past Tony McMillan. Durrell then turned provider as Celtic didn't clear another corner, sending the ball to Danny Newton, who beat his man and McMillan to slot home. A couple of minutes later, and Newton doubled his tally when Shane Clarke's low cross was met caught by McMillan, but Jack Higgins collided with the prone keeper, the ball spilling loose, and Newton smashing home.
McMillan wasn't a hundred percent fit after that clash, might explain how Newton got his third, when Newton was allowed to turn in the box onto Ellis Deeney's floated cross and put a rocket of a shot across the face of McMillan into the top corner. That goal came after Celtic's best chance of the half, a superb low cross from Aidan Chippendale right through the danger area, Chris Simm sliding in, and missing by a hairs breadth.
A team could be forgiven for rolling over and just preventing humiliation, an injured keeper, four goals down, but Celtic went for it.
A free kick from Chippendale, Jack Higgins ghosting in, an inch perfect looping header over Belshaw, and Celtic were only three behind.
It was back to four almost immediately, when Danny Newton ran half the length of the pitch, road Jack Higgins's challenge, one-on-one with McMillan, who grasped air not ball and Newton was through, rolling the ball in to make it five.
Still Celtic didn't roll over and capitulate.
Chippendale's corner was well met by Higgins who thought he had his second only for Belshaw to get a hand on it, and push the ball over the bar. Another corner and this time Chris Simm got the telling nod on the ball to return the deficit to three goals.
And suddenly, it was back to two behind, when Peter Wylie's intelligent through ball saw Steve Tames outpace his marker to go one-on-one with Belshaw. Tames skipped around Belshaw and despite heavy pressure from Steve Tommasson, got the goal.
There was still half an hour to go, and Tamworth were rocking somewhat.
Alex Mudimu was surrounded, and still got his shot off, had it just a little more power, Belshaw wouldn't have reached it, but as it was, the Lamb's keeper got across. Steve Tames came close with a half volley off Bohan Dixon's great little flick, and right at the death, there was heavy pressure from Celtic with a trio of corners that almost, but just couldn't quite be converted.
Despite the great comeback, the damage had been done in the first half. That makes eleven goals conceded in three matches, and Celtic have dropped another place in the table. Our games in hand won't count for anything if they cannot be converted, starting on Monday, away at neighbours Curzon Ashton, for the postponed Boxing Day match.
|10||Green, Paul||> 33|
|12||Davis, Jed||< 33|