Celtic cannot concede three goals in every match and expect to get anything out of any of those matches. In the last seven matches, Celtic have now conceded twenty-two goals.
Stocksbridge showed their intentions early on, with Grant Shenton pulling off an excellent double save from Adam Hinchliffe and Scott Ruthven, the first almost point blank, the second across the face that Shenton pushed away for Matty Hughes to get clear. However, Steels took advantage of more disorganised defending from Celtic that allowed Nathaniel Crofts to turn home a low cross into the box from Harrison Biggins.
Moments later and the visitors were two up. Ruthven’s shot was well saved by Shenton, putting it out for a corner, but nobody picked up Matthew Reay who thumped his header into the back of the net.
It sometimes seems that Celtic need to be woken up before they put any kind of performance in, and after the second goal, Celtic did start to put together some passes, culminating in Aidan Chippendale’s pinpoint cross to the unmarked Danny Wilkins arriving at the back post. He struck his shot well, but David Reay pulled off a stupendous one handed save, the ball going for a corner. Steels couldn’t clear the corner, it eventually being lofted back over the top by Gary Gee for Liam Dickinson, who did well to hold off the defence and pulled the ball back. A clever step over by Aaron Chalmers allowed the ball to run to Darren McKnight, who struck a sweet curling shot into the top corner.
The two goal cushion was return just before the interval. Nobody got tight on Adam Hinchliffe, thirty-five yards out from goal, he curled his shot past Shenton onto the inside of the post and in. It was a soft, preventable goal, a hallmark of Celtic’s season.
Whether Celtic played better, or Stocksbridge tried to hold what they had, it was downhill traffic for Celtic in the second half, pressing for goals. However, in the opening moments of the restart, it required another good stop from Shenton pushing a sharp angle shot from Crofts trying to repeat his earlier goal.
Celtic pulled a goal back with the freakiest goal of the season. Liam Dickinson might have been having a shot from the edge of his own box, it was certainly on target and required Reay to back-peddle and push the ball onto the post. On his back, in his goal, he was helpless when Andy Owens had followed up and slotted home the easiest goal he’ll ever score.
Celtic pummelled the visitors for the last forty minutes, but could not find an equaliser. Danny Wilkins and Darren McKnight both wasted good opportunities, whilst Aaron Chalmers and Gary Gee both had close range headers exceptionally well saved by Reay, whilst Florian Da Silva showed a good turn of pace and nice skill, but the final header was far too comfortable for Reay.
A moment of controversy came just before full time, when Aaron Chalmer’s through ball was chased down by substitute Judas Oyibo, just inside the box Oyibo reached the ball a fraction of a second ahead of Reay, knocking it down away from the Stocksbridge keeper who went straight through the Celtic youngster leaving him requiring treatment. Not only no penalty, but no foul either.
Celtic weren’t going to have many more chances in the eight minutes of stoppage time, but the best fell to Daa Silva, again showing tenacity and pace to make the space for a shot, but Reay again pulled out a great reaction stop at full stretch to deny Da Silva and sent Stocksbridge through to face Nuneaton.
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