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Match Report -
Swimming like a (David) Fish
By Debbie Taylor

Yet again, Celtic were beaten by penalty decisions that went against them.

Only 178 people braved the gales and torrential rain to watch this, our first League Cup game of the campaign.

Droylsden came into the match with two wins and a draw already under their belts against the other teams in the cup, knowing a win should secure them entry into the next stage. However, the players had not been on the pitch for a minute before the referee recalled them all for a fifteen minute wait to see if the horrible weather would relent enough to allow the game to go ahead. Although, the only player who seemed suited for the weather was David Fish!

When it finally did, the pitch was saturated, with some areas standing in water.

Neither side could make good headway in these conditions, and the first half was a subdued affair.

Nevertheless, Celtic should have taken a three goal lead in at the half time interval, with Jones missing a bag full, but not being alone. Perhaps Evans, Williamson, and Jones could all be forgiven for lifting the ball to try and keep it out of the mud, but unfortunately, the early attempts on goal were all over or wide. Those shots which were kept down, stuck in the mud and water to travel weakly and be easily collected by Phillips in the Blood's goal.

The only open play Droylsden effort in the first half came from Carl Holmes after quarter of an hour, which dribbled weakly into Fish's arms.

Both sides finished the half with a promise of better football in the second period, with Droylsden forcing two saves from Fish from corners, and Phillips athletically saving a volley from Jones.

Celtic reorganised in the second half, with McNeil coming on for Jones. A further reorganisation was required when Williamson fell foul of the conditions, and limped off to be replaced by Dominic Crookes.

This new formation seemed to be paying dividends, when Evans broke through, only to be halted by ex-Celt Eddie Johnstone who was having a great game.

The tall defender could do nothing when Alex Green reached a ball stopped by water in the corner, to squeeze a ball into the penalty box, which Evans volleyed superbly home.

New boy Joss Howard showed professional class when he took the ball past four defenders using some fancy footwork, only to see his cut back to McNeil saved by Phillips.

The game fizzled a little bit with some heavy tackling by both sides, but from a corner, Celtic again found the net when Pickford's shot was parried out to Bauress 25 yards from the goal. The skipper steadied himself, and fired home a rifling shot that beat Phillips by a mile.

David Pace knew that he had to do something with his team, who were being out-shone on the dismal night, and he put Young on.

This gave Droylsden fresh impetus in what was becoming one-way traffic, and allowed Carl Holmes to leave three Celtic defenders in the mud, and put one past Fish.

Alex Green attempted to increase the gap again, but Phillips caught the header, and launched a ball down field. In the resulting melee in the Celtic box, Referee Pashley spotted something and blew for a penalty.

Fish was left stationary as a clever penalty from Carl Holmes levelled the scores.

Scott, freshly on for Joss Howard, immediately broke through the packed midfield, only to be stopped at the final hurdle by Eddie Johnstone.

The game ended with two bizarre decisions.

Firstly, Phillips raced out to beat Evans to the ball, scooping it up a good foot outside his area. The linesman was in no doubt as to the foul, and the referee went to have a word with Phillips. I do not know what Phillips said to the ref, but as the last man committing a foul, he should have been sent off immediately. However, he stayed on, and was able to fist the ball away from the free kick.

The second strange decision came at the death. Holmes, sensing his hat trick slipping away threw himself into the box after Pickford's sliding challenge.

The linesman at the Celtic end obviously had as much trouble seeing the penalty area as Phillips, for he awarded a penalty. Holmes stepped up, and repeated his earlier penalty to give Droylsden a win they cannot claim they deserved.

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