It was heartbreak for Celtic, even with all the losses this season, this was harsh.
Both sides had early efforts, Craig Westcarr and Tom Allan both on target but straight at Tony McMillan, and Brian Summerskill's twenty yard screamer was only narrowly wide. It looked evenly balanced, but Celtic have a tendency for shooting themselves in the foot, and this game was no exception. Allan's through ball was pounced on by Tony McMillan at Craig Westcarr's feet, but the ball squirrelled out of his grasp, Westcarr reacted quickly, scoring from a very acute angle.
Celtic came straight back, nick Ryan heading a free kick millimetres wide, Brian Summerskill's firing over the bar after some great build up play, and should have been on the score sheet on the half hour mark when Liam Dickinson knocked down Danny Morton's cross for Summerskill to smash home, only to be mysteriously ruled offside.
To add further misery to Celtic's afternoon, Tony McMillan came out of his box for a loose ball, but Sam Smith got there first and lobbed McMillan ? the first time he did that, he hit the woodwork, but McMillan gave him a second chance a few minutes later, and Smith made no mistake on his second attempt to give Alfreton a two goal lead at the interval.
The second half was Celtic's half. Scott Spencer came close to a debut goal straight off the kick-off. After Aidan Chippendale saw his first cracking effort blocked on route, he tried again, this time, Scott Spencer put a foot on it, not a defender, deflecting it beyond the reach of Fabian Speiss.
Celtic continued their dominance, with good moves leading up to Danny Morton warming Speiss's hands and Chippendale's twenty-five yard screamer just clearing the bar. Chippendale was deserving of a goal, and after three attempts from distance, it was close range he scored, Dickinson's perfectly weighted through ball for Chippendale to run onto and slot past Speiss.
Celtic needed a winner, and when Summerskill was upended in the corner of the box, everybody looked to the referee, who waved the claim away. It was going to have to be done the hard way, and Chippendale was again the one trying, another twenty-five yard shot rising just over the bar and Danny Wilkins put through onto Speiss, but the Aflreton keeper pulled off a fantastic one-handed save. Wilkins was on the end of a sweeping move, Summerskill and Morton linking up to put him through, but again Speiss denied him. Speiss was again there to deny Liam Dickinson with another great save, claiming the powerful shot at the second attempt.
And so it was, in stoppage time, that all the good work, the hard work, the positive work, was undone. Jude Oyibo ? promoted from the reserves ? conceded a foul on Brad McGowan. Alfreton pumped the ball into the box, and though Celtic through bodies in the way, it wasn't cleared, Andy Monkhouse fed the ball out to Liam Hearn, and his finish was very good, curling his shot through the crowd beyond the reach of McMillan and break Celtic's hearts.
|9||Allan, Tom||> 75|
|10||Westcarr, Craig||> 80|
|11||Smith, Sam||> 75|
|12||Priestley, Adam||< 75|
|14||Clayton, Paul||< 80|
|15||Hearn, Liam||< 75|