In the grand scheme of things, this win probably wonít keep Celtic up, but for returning a bit of a feel good factor, it was heartening to see a result that matched the play balance of play, though Celtic had to withstand a lot of pressure in the second half.
The first half saw the hosts totally contained, unable to manage a shot on target, though just before the interval, Liam Hearn fired wide. All the action was at the other end, with James Roberts and Andy Bishop linking up well. Roberts had a trio of chances that he put over the bar, and Aaron Chalmers headed a corner straight at Fabian Speiss.
Eventually, the pressure told, a free kick, whipped in by Danny Pilkington was met at the far post by Danny Wisdom. Speiss did well to get across, but couldnít keep the ball out of the net, as it squeezed through the narrowest of gaps between Speiss and post.
Just before the interval, it was almost two, but for excellent defending and a cracking save, when Celtic carved Alfreton open, the ball coming to Adam Mather who blasted his shot past a stranded Speiss only for Terry Kennedy to throw himself in the path of the ball. The rebound came out to Andy Bishop who wrapped his foot around the bouncing ball, but Speiss got across and pulled off the save of the match.
Celtic did get their second at the start of the second half, Andy Bishop left completely unmarked in the box. Danny Wisdom and James Roberts interchanged to get Roberts into the box. Surrounded, he picked out his strike partner who had the time and presence of mind to pick his spot and double Celticís lead.
A third would have killed Alfreton off, but Kieran Dunbarís edge of the box snap shot cleared the bar, and Matty Hughes headed a free kick narrowly over the bar. Roberts got close when Alfreton didnít clear a free kick, but Speiss was well positioned. This allowed Alfreton to up the pressure. They peppered the Celtic box for ten minutes until Celtic had a massive let off when Liam Hearn was unmarked at Grant Shentonís back post for a cross, only to see his header cannon against the post.
Celtic finished the stronger. Danny Pilkington was fed by Roberts coming in on an angle, Speiss making a full stretch save. Speiss was there again, this time when Roberts went himself. Matty Hughesís header from a corner was on target, but well stopped, and Adam Mather looked to have capped a great performance when he curled in and fired across the face narrowly wide of the far post.
This was a full team performance, with Alfreton unable to muster a single shot on target. Celtic would need another four wins to just catch up to Worcester and Gainsborough. Our chance of staying up was the previous three games, not the next three; with our run in against top half of the table teams, survival is unlikely.
|4||Kennedy, Terry||> 54|
|6||Monkhouse, Andy||> 62|
|7||Shelton, Mark||> 80|
|12||Westcarr, Craig||< 54|
|15||Jordan, Todd||< 80|
|16||Marshall, Paul||< 62|