Match Report -
Solid performance
By Debbie Taylor

Barrow can have no complaints at this result. Celtic had a bit of luck, but in this game where both sides were quite evenly matched, a bit of luck was always going to turn it.

So evenly matched were they, that neither side could force the keeper into a save beyond scooping the ball up as it ran through the defence.

Celtic's first half performance was world's away from the second half at Radcliffe, and surpassed either of the two games that had gone before. Heald was introduced immediately into the side, and he is a quality player that gave Celtic a true left side. Foster could have got on the score sheet almost from the kick off, as Mayers lobbed ball right into his path saw him bearing down on goal. Hume and Salmon both converged on him before he could pull the trigger, so his shot when it came was whilst being squeezed and was relatively weak and and an easy catch.

But the goal, when it came, was last years' crop.

Bowman's threaded through ball found Mayers at the edge of the box, and he twisted inside two players before back heeling it to Potts running in, Potts got to the by-line and pulled a fine low cross back for Mayers who had continued his run. Salmon got there ahead of Mayers, diverting it into his own net.

There'd been a lot of good work up to that point, with Warren and Salmon left backpedaling on numerous occasions as Foster and Mayers threaded through them. They hacked at the Celtic line up at every opportunity, and gave away a silly free kick when Hume up-ended Potts while he was going nowhere. Potts took that free kick, curling it around the wall and off the foot of the post for clearing.

Celtic continued to be the more dominant of the two teams in the first half, but failed to register on the shots on target category. Fortunately, the same was true of Barrow, with Dootson's saves coming by not moving from the middle of the goal as Stevens and Knight both tried to squeeze balls past the defence, but lacked power. Stevens came the closes for the home side, just before the whistle when he headed a free kick over the bar.

In the second half, Barrow pressure was much stronger, and with Caldecott replaced through injury, Bowker was reintroduced to the defence. They held firm, despite crosses and corners being whipped in, and even managed the odd counter or three.

Hooper and Norton had been brought on to flood the midfield, and attempt stifle the Barrow pressure. And there was a lot to stifle, several times Barrow came close, Stevens, Rankine and Oliver all came to within varying inches of Dootson's crossbar. However, the defence did such a solid job, that, just before the end of the match, Dootson watched yet another 'shot' sail three feet wide, then performed a comedy dive for the fans. Barrow did get the ball in the back of the net. Maxfield with a long free kick into the box that Hume powered into the back of the net, after ensuring that there was not a Celtic player left standing. The whistle blew for the foul before his head contacted the ball.

On the counters, Mayers was left along to hold up the ball, allowing the midfield to flood in around him. This resulted in a couple of needless fouls being committed by Salmon and Hume, one of which indicated another string in the new signing's bow. He can take free kicks from the right hand side. Potts deferred the free kick earned on that side to the newcomer, and though it was deflected by the wall, I think this could be a dangerous ploy - with a free kick taker for either side.

And what a free kick taker there is on the left. Potts pushed the ball past Warren at the edge of the box, Warren (the last defender) clattered Potts. A yellow card was shown, but Potts punished him more. He struck an excellent free kick that swerved around the wall and Bishop could only watch it bulge the net.

Right before full time, and all of Barrow's pressure had come to naught, particular the strong turning of Rankine, and the strong heading of Hume.

Barrow have not had the best of starts to the season, but Celtic would probably have taken 6 points from 9 after seeing the fixture list, though I doubt anybody could have predicted a win away at Barrow, but losing away at Radcliffe.

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