Christmas came early for Nuneaton as Celtic gift wrapped a goal in more spectacular style than has been usual of late. Despite opening the scoring, an own goal and a lapse of concentration on a corner gave Nuneaton all three points, and doomed Celtic to a bleak Christmas.
The opening half hour was a tame affair, with little action at either end, David Morgan saw a powerful shot deflected by the stuck out leg of Keil O’Brien and Joe Ironside’s header was right into Grant Shenton’s arms. At the other end, Aaron Chalmers had Celtic’s first effort, after some good build up play, he was laid off by Danny Wilkins, but curled his shot around the crowd and into Christian Dibble’s arms.
The game came alive on the half hour when Greg Tempest clipped Fabian Da Silva’s feet as the Celtic winger cut into the box and was about to chance his luck. A penalty was give, and Gary Gee stepped up to take it. Dibble guessed right, but it was perfectly placed and there was too much pace on the ball for him to reach.
Nuneaton looked bereft of ideas. Until just before half time, a comfortable back header from Danny Hall was looped over Shenton, who’d also come to collect the lumped forward ball. There was a call that Ironside had impeded Shenton in reaching the ball, but it was half hearted at best. Moments later, and Nuneaton, on a high, doubled their lead from a corner, nobody picking up Reece Styche as he thumped his header into the back of the net.
Nuneaton seemed content with a one goal lead in the second half, their two efforts in the first half of it were lacklustre, lacking power or direction, but for all that, they were keeping Celtic at bay too easily. New blood was brought on in the shape of Alex Honeyball, on work experience from Bolton Wanderers. His long throws shook up the up until now comfortable Nuneaton defence. Also brought on was Liam Dickinson, and it was his low cross that was almost reached by Aaron Chalmers at the far post, missing by an inch, but then getting back to his feet to put his head on Adam Mather’s cross back into the mix. Only an outstanding save from Dibble denied Chalmers an equaliser.
Aidan Chippendale was the next to come on to worry the home defence, and he did, latching onto a long throw with Dibble bravely going down at Chippendale’s feet inside the six yard box to deny him. Moments later, and Dickinson latched onto corner Nuneaton couldn’t clear, but his shot over Dibble hit the woodwork and flew on out of play. With time running out, one last throw of the dice, Keiran Dunbar chased down a ball into the corner, kept it in, tricked his way past Darragh Leahy and again Dibble was required to make an exceptional reaction stop to keep the three points for his team.
Celtic started strongly, and finished strongly, but the habit of giving away goals is what’s costing the points.
|9||Ironside, Joe||> 82|
|10||Styche, Reece||> 90|
|11||Nicholson, Jordan||> 76|
|14||Cartwright, Iwan||< 82|
|15||Daniels, Billy||< 90|
|16||Williams, Aaron||< 76|