Match Report -
3 errors - 3 goals
By Debbie Taylor

Despite having a man advantage for an hour, Celtic were destroyed by three clinical goals, and the opening goal was by none other than ex-Celt Steve Jones.

Peacock looks to have shaken off his recently malaise, putting in a superb performance, in a team that looked like it needs a winter break. He started the Celtic crossing, after trading possession with Murphy, but it was bread and butter for the defence, who cleared easily before Mike and Courtney could get involved. That was to be the pattern for Celtic throughout the match.

Southport responded when Pickford halted Steve Jones as he powered through the midfield, giving Southport a free kick not far outside the box. the impressive Howell whipped it in, and Barry Jones headed over the bar.

The referee, Mr Birkett, gave everybody clear instruction on how he would treat challenges, when Mike and Clark tussled for the ball in the centre circle. Mike looked to have won, and was ready to go on a run, when the referee booked him for the foul. It looked innocuous. The free kick was wasted, and it allowed Celtic to build.

However, instead of breaking at Southport, Celtic were to ply a patient game, building, holding possession, all match. This allowed Southport time to get behind the ball, and do what any Phil Wilson side can do well, defend. Courtney did win a corner off Lane. Peacock's ball eventually fell to Pickford outside the box, his volley cleared the bar.

Beesley was adjudged to have fouled Grayston, near the penalty area. It was cleared by Wood, but only as far as Teale, who won a throw off Mike. The Celtic defence backed off Elam, and his square ball to Parke inside the box required a class tackle from Parr to deny him a goal. Futcher also denied Parke moments later as the Port forward tried to swing a cross in, however, it was at the expense of a corner. He made up for it, by heading clear. It fell to Elam, who tried to put it back in, but Peacock intercepted, and sent the ball clear.

Southport sent the ball across field, with a long ball, towards the corner flag. Perkins followed it to make sure it went out. As he bent to pick up the ball to take the throw in, Whitehall came running across the field, and leapt two footed into the back of Perkins' thighs. Perkins required a couple of minutes treatment, and the referee had no option but to send Whitehall off for an extremely rash, and pointless, challenge.

This did not seem to affect Southport in the slightest. Howell again ran into the box, and again, Murphy and Beesley stood off him, allowing him closer and closer. When he could go no further, he laid the ball out to the edge of the box, and Steve Jones was the quickest to react, sidefooting home his fourth goal for Southport against his old club.

Mike immediately won a corner down the other end, when Clark blocked is shot. As he would all afternoon, Dickinson caught the ball in.

Parke was having no joy running through, as first Pickford, then Beesley held him at bay, Beesley just stopping the ball, and allowing Parke to continue on.

Celtic's first shot on target came on 25 minutes, when Mike was laid off by Courtney. Mike turned Clark inside out, and prodded the ball wide of the post.

Parke continued to cause the defence problems, despite being up front on his own. He cut a ball back from the by-line to Elam, who twisted and turned under attentions of Beesley and Futcher, before poking the ball wide of the post.

As the game swung back into Southport's half, Peacock's ball in was almost inch perfect for Parr to head in. Dickinson, not the tallest of keepers, was at full stretch to get just a finger tip to the cross to lift it beyond Parr.

Celtic just were not learning, and Howell steamed into the box, as far as the post before Murphy put a tackle in, and Walker could clear.

Celtic's patient game, saw them on numerous occasions build up a long string of passes, knocking the ball around the park, leaving Southport with nothing to do but get organised at the back. After one such move, Pickford surged between two Southport players, and prodded the ball past a third to Mike. Mike was sandwiched off the ball by Teale and Barry Jones, allowing Dickinson to scoop up the ball.

When Grayston brought Courtney down, just outside the box with a crashing tackle, the Celtic faithful held their breath, but Peacock's ball was delivered to Dickinson, instead of a Blue and White shirt. Dickinson immediately set Elam off on a run, and he got to the e by-line with Perkins with him all the way. He still was able to by pass Walker, with a cut back to the in-rushing Parke, but Beesley was alert, and tidied up. They were soon back, and Perkins had to be at full stretch to give away a corner, which was cleared by Futcher as far as Teale, who had no time to put a cross in, as Pickford closed him down, stole the ball, and was half way up the pitch when the referee decided it was a foul. The free kick fell to Parke. Futcher allowed Parke to turn and shoot, and fortunately, his shot was woeful and over.

A clearance ball from Wood fell right into Peacock's path near the box, his first time shot was powerful and on-target, until Clark put it out for a corner, though the defender didn't know much about it.

There was a definite pattern to the game at the end of the first half, which saw Celtic getting forward a lot, and maintaining a lot of possession, but having no bite in the box. Whilst at the other end, the back four were playing well, coping with mostly everything that Southport had, but not getting stuck in early enough, allowing the gold shirts to enter the box. The last place to perform a tackle is in the box - one mistake and it;'s a penalty. Fortunately, Celtic did not make any such mistakes, we just allowed Southport too much time instead.

The second half was to prove no different, though it would be Marivat rather than Courtney who was to play below expectation.

Marivat was involved in a lot of what Celtic did, and from the off, he and Parr danced around the defence, but Dickinson was quick, and pounced on the slightly loose ball, punting it clear. Marivat received the throw and ran past Clark like he wasn't there, to go one on one with Dickinson. The goal was assured, until Clark crashed into Marivat, sending the Frenchman spinning off his feet. Having already sent one man off, Southport should have lost another, but instead, Clark got a yellow card.

Peacock took the free kick curling it around the wall, but Dickinson made the difficult save look easy.

Walker too made a save, as Grayston and Parke played head tennis around Futcher, before Parke's shot went into the mid-riff of Walker.

Parr, working tirelessly, won a corner off Barry Jones. Peacock's corner fell to Beesley, but he could only nod wide.

For huge periods of the second half, Southport were content to sit back and soak up the Celtic pressure, defending with expertise and a little bit of luck. At times, Walker cast a lonely figure as the only player in the Celtic half.

Though Peacock was fouled near the corner flag, he continued on with the ball, sending it square to Mike in the box. Adie couldn't get the ball under control and it bobbled between his legs. With Jones and Clark hassling him, Mike failed to get anywhere with the ball, and Dickinson picked Mike's pocket, smothering the bobbling ball.

In a rare Southport foray, Elam was brought down by Pickford, and the free kick was headed well over the bar by Parke.

Twice in quick succession Murphy got an opportunity to find a Celtic shirt. The first time Teale headed clear, only for Wood to spread it to Murphy again. This time Dickinson was the recipient of the cross.

His third attempt a minute later, actually found Mike, but his flicked header narrowly went wide with the keeper beaten.

Perkins' earlier knock meant he had to be substituted on the hour. With no ready made left back on the bench, Wharton stepped into the breach, and opened up the whole right quadrant for Southport.

Futcher again found himself in the opposition box, after swapping passes right the way up the field. After his mazy run and great passing, all he needed was a shot, but he bottled it in the last yard, and allowed Clark to welly the ball clear. As far as Wood, who hit it first time out to Peacock. Peacock with as much space as he had didn't need asking twice to shoot, but his curling shot narrowly went wide.

Celtic continued to apply ineffectual pressure, with Parr's screaming shot clipping Teale on the way out, but again from the corner Dickinson was the final holder, despite on this occasion, Murphy taking it short to Peacock, who whipped in an inswinger from a couple of yards past the by-line.

The keeper kicked long into a fairly empty part of the park. Beesley stopped it, but a bad pass allowed Elam to pick up the ball and run at Wharton, with Beesley still stationary several yards away. Parke was running in on the other side, but Murphy was still not back, and Parke had the simplest of finishes.

Celtic tried not to let the goal phase them, sticking to the game plan, and pressuring through possession. However, they were chasing the game now, and there was a huge hole at the back. When Marivat put Peacock through, and his ball went over the bar, Celtic had to rue the miss, for moments later, again with most of the Celtic contingent in Southport's half, Parke's intelligent ball over the top into Perkins' area allowed Grayston to run one-on-one with Walker. Walker advanced, narrowing the angle, but Grayston already had his spot picked, and slipped it past the unlucky Walker.

It should have been the final straw for Celtic, but this Celtic team do not know how to give up. Pickford's persistence robbed Teale of the ball, gaining a throw-in level with the penalty area. Murphy received the ball, and .lifted it over Clark to Pickford who drilled a cross into the box. It was too high for Mike, but not for Parr, who simply nodded it down into the empty net. Perhaps it was the presence of so many old faces that reignited last season's inspirational midfield partnership.

Immediately after the goal, Woods was brought on for Pickford, who was looking tired.

Woods' first job was to rush onto a Murphy overlap and whip a ball in for Mike to try and emulate Parr, but the keeper caught Mike's slower effort.

Woods then freed Marivat with a well weighted ball which the speedy Frenchman ran onto. He snapped off his shot from a narrow angle, but keeper's should be hard to beat at the near post, and Dickinson was no exception.

Involved in everything from coming on to the end of the game, Woods then gave away a corner but made amends by robbing Howell. However taking the ball off a Southport player was an offence the ref used all afternoon, and he used it again, booking Woods for the perfectly fair tackle.

Celtic then resorted to shooting from distance. Murphy's effort was wide, and Wharton's was pitiful. Peacock's free kick after Clark brought Parr down, was saved by the keeper who saw it with plenty of time.

Southport had one last trick up their sleeve. Once more Elam was allowed to run, with the defence backing off. His curling shot produced a top class save from Walker as he palmed it around for a corner. The corner was cleared.

Celtic then finished the half with a corner of their own. Peacock's excellent ball in was inch perfect for Mike, but from somewhere Teale popped up to rob him of the ball, and put it out for a corner. But the keeper caught it, and the ref had seen enough.

It was simple to pick up on what was wrong with Celtic's approach to this game. The defence backed off rather than getting stuck in early, and the attackers failed several times to get into the right positions for the crosses coming in. Celtic's bad patch continues, but with those below losing as well, nothing changes at the foot of the table and we remain 2 points off the drop zone.

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