Match Report -
Nightmare Before Christmas
By Deborah Taylor

An equaliser just before half-time gave the visitors the impetus to build on it in the second half, whilst Celtic failed to build any kind of momentum.

Celtic started brightly enough, pressing the visitorís goal at pace, after firing narrowly wide after breaking through one-on-one, Darius Osei was in the right place at the right time when Jonathan Ustabasi surged along the by line and curled an effort goalward that Nathan Broome could only parry way. Osei twisted and fired in his shot through a crowd to open the scoring.

Celtic should have pushed on and pressed for a second, but it was Mickleover who upped their tempo, and Stuart Beavon equalised with a hooked volley after Stephen OíHalloranís sliced clearance fell to him out on the wing. The ball looped over stranded Alex FojtŪček into the back of the net.

Celtic tried to get back in front before the interval with both Ustabasi and Chris Smalley both missing the chance to do so. Within ten minutes of the restart, Celtic were not only behind, but Mickleover were beyond catching.

OíHalloran almost gave the visitors the lead with a sliced clearance that required FojtŪček to push the ball around the post at full stretch. The visitors did take the lead from the resulting corner, Aman Vermai getting his head on Ben Turnerís corner, the ball somehow crossing the line among a mass of players.

It got worse, when FojtŪček came for a one on one being shepherded back, only to lose out in a moment of defensive confusion with player/manager John McGrath taking the ball and slotting it into an unguarded net.

Celtic had the better of the next twenty minutes, but with Mickleover defending and breaking up play, there was no goal forthcoming, with Oseiís half volley lacking any pace, and Craig Hobson forcing Broome into an excellent save, close range, heading down only for Broome to fall onto the ball and keep hold under pressure.

It got worse for Celtic when Greg Young beat a hesitant FojtŪček to a loose ball at the edge of the box. FojtŪček turned to chase and brought Young down with a clumsy challenge. He was shown a surprising red and Declan Walker donned the green jersey to face Beavon from the spot. Beavonís spot kick was awful, sailing high over the bar.

FojtŪček was joined in an early bath when Ricky Ravenhill ploughed through Ross Dent. Celtic protected Walker in goal well, though Ryan Nesbittís twenty-five yard looping effort did beat Celticís stand-in keeper, his shot cannoning back off the bar. The closest Celtic came to pulling a goal back was Ustabasiís scissor kick ten yards out, that flashed the wrong side of the post, but it wasnít anywhere enough and Celtic once again fail to take anything from a game with Mickleover.

1Broome, Nathan  
2Tvaroh, Karel  
3Turner, Ben  
4Ravenhill, RickyRed Card 
5Berry, Durrell  
6Young, Greg  
7McGrath snr, John  > 80
8Wright, Andrew  
9Vermai, Aman  
10Beavon, Stuart  > 90
11Nesbitt, Ryan  
14McGrath jr, John  
15Hughes, Lee  < 80
16Robinson, Tyrell  
17Satchwell, Josh  < 90
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