Match Report -
Linesman's decisions costs Celtic points
By Iain Benson
Despite the best efforts of the officials, Celtic did manage to get a point out of this game, though having scored twice they probably feel hard done by.

Lenton let Turley know he was in for a rough ride in the opening minute, scything him down and conceding a free kick. Haran flicked it to the back post where Ellington was waiting, but it was a good claim from the keeper, Haystead. Turley was again fouled by Lenton moments later, again Haystead was aware as Turley and Prince interchanged off the free kick with the later driving the ball towards the goal. Ellington latched onto a Prince through ball and pulled it back from the by-line for Sykes stealing in, Sykes? shot was on target and well saved. Celtic earned a couple of corners as they pressed the visitors. Banim?s lovely turn gave him the space for a shot, with Heeley deflecting it, and then Platnauer deflecting Turley?s shot for another, before Barnard put his header over the bar.

Banim was playing something of a provider role, and put a superbly weight ball through the defence for Turley to run onto. He looked short of pace having been hacked repeatedly by Lenton, and the Hinckley defence converged quickly onto him, forcing an early shot straight at Haystead. Trickery from Prince got him into the box, he threaded a ball to the edge of the six-yard box, Sykes ran past three defenders, continually behind the ball, slotted the shot under Haystead?s body, only for the linesman to then flag him offside. Linesman is a difficult job, but no way at any point was Sykes offside.

Lenton first brought down Prince and then Ellington, Barnard?s header was over from the first free kick, and off the second it fell to Banim ? his shot struck both posts, coming out to Turley, shot blocked to Sykes, shot blocked to Ellington, superb strike, great save from Haystead.

Just after the half hour mark, Hinckley broke. Palmer won a corner off Wharton, which Heeley forced Pettinger into making a good stop off. On their second attack, Platnauer pulled the ball back from the by-line; Palmer was the grateful recipient after Pettinger missed the low cross, leaving a side-foot into an empty net. Brown could have doubled it in a mad couple of minutes after Barnard missed his clearance, leaving Brown one-on-one but he shot wide.

The second half started like the first, only with Platnauer the guilty party for a foul around the box, tripping Prince. Banim?s free kick was excellently struck, but Haystead was up to it, making an excellent stop. Lavery fouled Turley next, and Prince?s free kick almost caught Haystead unawares, but no such luck. Lenton eventually received a yellow card for his ninth foul of the game, when he slid through the back of Prince in the centre circle. If that warranted a closer watch on him, it didn?t happen.

Banim put Price through, he struck it well, and again Haystead denied the equaliser. Baker came on for the knocked-about Turley, and within seconds Lenton fouled him. Baker kept his feet and Lenton chased him down and head-butted him right under the linesman?s nose. With blood streaming down his face, both the linesman and the official claimed to have seen nothing and Lenton escaped. Palmer headed the free kick narrowly around his own post with Ellington poised. Haystead knew he was in a game, as Wharton shot from the corner routine forcing another good save. Ellington fed Banim who twisted past three before taking the shot ? again Haystead was there.

Celtic were almost undone by another moment of blindness from the referee. Palmer blatantly used his hand to control a long lob ? as Barnard turned to complain, Palmer lobbed the ball to Story whose shot beat Pettinger ? Barnard had recovered well through, and cleared off the line still haranguing the officials.

Ellington got the goal Celtic deserved. Banim opened up the defence with one pass, Ellington went one-on-one with Haystead, and there was nothing Haystead could do as Ellington slotted it past him. Banim could have doubled it straight away, controlling a long Pettinger punt to take out the defence, Haystead narrowed the angle, and Banim tried the lob, but clipped the bar and out. Baker tested Haystead with a long shot, he spilled it, Ellington ran in, and was offside. Haran perhaps should have been booked when a Price shot was spilled b y Haystead and he slid in for the loose ball when the keeper was always the favourite. But the officials probably didn?t see it.

From the amount of chances, Celtic could have won two games. A draw is better than a loss, but Celtic need the points to keep up with the play off spots, and but for some rubbish and plain wrong decisions from the linesman, it could have been another home win for Celtic.

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