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Match Report -
Too little Too late
By Debbie Taylor

Marine won this game, because they wanted to win it.

Celtic's performance was below par, though there were moments when they outclassed the home side, and should have walked into the next round of the Trophy easily. However, these flashes of brilliance were short-lived, and too far apart to be effective.

The first half saw the ball go from end to end, and chances in both penalty boxes. The first chance fell to McNeil and Sullivan in the opening five minutes. McNeil clashed with the keeper, when they both went for the ball, but Sullivan was just not long enough of leg to reach the loose ball, and it was cleared.

Marine tried to break through on goal, with Burns having a flick on at the near post that Ingham cut out. However, Scott, Williamson, Crookes and Ward were magnificent, getting to every cross first. This resulted in Marine having a good half dozen corners in the first half, but were unable to convert their chances thanks to the attentions of the back four. Randles, Formby and Courtney all saw their chances go wide, and Formby tried from distance with a soft trickling shot that allowed Ingham time to make a cup of tea before he caught it.

At the other end, Celtic were getting closer than Marine, but still shaving the wrong side of the post. Sullivan got onto a Parr knock back, and put it wide. Crookes headed just over the bar from a Bauress free kick as did Parr, and John Gautrey did his best to help out, intercepting a Bauress free kick, with a backwards header to his keeper. Who had come to claim the ball, and watched it sail over him. Fortunately for the Marine defender, there were no Celtic players in a position to capitalise on the error, and Chris Clarke had time to make the save. Sullivan put slightly too much power in his cheeky chip over the on-rushing keeper, only to land on the roof of the net.

Back at the wrong end, Courtney spurned two excellent chances, when hopeful lobs into the boxes were headed wide, although only just in both cases, leading to the hundred and fifty or so travelling supporters to have their hearts in their mouths. Ingham did well to put off Burns when the striker had managed to evade the otherwise solid back line.

Celtic finished strongly, with Marine defending at their goal-line to deny Bauress and Scott.

The second half started with Marine going at Celtic like this was a cup final. The result of which was spurned, as Courtney sent the ball over the net, the stand, and the roofs of the houses behind the ground.

Marine's goal when it came was a sickener. Gamble, who had been dumping balls into the penalty box all afternoon without effect, did so again. Ingham was off his line, and watched as the ball sailed over his head and into the top corner, just sneaking under the bar. It was totally unepexected and even the home crowd took a moment to realise they had scored.

After that Celtic attempted to repeat the season's earlier victory at Marine. Sullivan cleared the crossbar twice in five minutes. The second of which saw Marine clear off the line twice from Pickford and McNeil, before Sullivan's blaster rose just too far. Wilson decided to increase the attacking options, and brought Evans on to replace Andy Scott.

With just twenty minutes to go, Celtic were pushing everybody forward, as Williamson headed wide from a corner, and Ward headed over, and Locke volleyed wide. However, these were our defenders, leaving us exposed at the back. Both Fitzsimmons and Douglas were unable to convert the chances that came because of this, but Gary Randles was. He attacked a badly cleared ball with venom, and it sped in past Ingham before he had a chance to react.

The remaining five minutes saw Celtic try to ease the deficit and make a more accurate scoreline. Shortly after heading a corner over the bar, Kevin Parr limped to be replaced by Green. However it was all over bar the clapping.

It was a game that could have gone either way. Celtic did not play at their most inspirational, but they were holding Marine at bay until the goal went in. At the final whistle, the scoreline flattered Marine slightly. Had the lucky goal gone Celtic's way perhaps it would have been a different story.

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