Match Report -
Played better and still lost
By Iain Benson
The improvement in performance was not matched by an improvement in the score line as Celtic succumbed to their fourth straight defeat. After starting brightly and attacking the Moor Green goal, with Hume coming the closest heading Black?s cross narrowly over the bar, it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Trainer ran into the box and forced a block on route to goal by Black, before his second attempt was parried away by Pettinger. The good save was dampened as Anderson was on hand to follow up poking the ball across the line.

Penny narrowly avoided a booking when he brought down Krief on the wing, but Celtic could not take advantage of the free kick, and it was Moor Green who should have grabbed the next goal when Pettinger came for a long throw but misjudged the flight allowing Moore to get his head on the ball. Fortunately, Flynn was on hand to head clear off the line. Penny did get a yellow card, with the crowd baying for a red as he brought down Ellington when he was clear through on goal. The referee decided that it wasn?t a clear goal scoring opportunity and Penny escaped with a yellow.

Again the free kick couldn?t be converted, but the decision obviously incensed the Celtic team as they upped their pace and redoubled their efforts. These were rewarded when Krief cut wide and lofted the ball into the box, Sykes drew Lewis the Moor Green keeper, allowing Ellington acrobatically volley the ball into the back of the net for the equaliser. Celtic could have doubled their lead just before the interval when Sykes flicked on a long Flynn throw only for Ellington?s header to stick in the goal mouth mud and Lewis to scoop it up. Winn did get the ball in the back of the net moments later when he half volleyed Princes lofted back post cross into the back of the net, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside.

The second half saw Celtic continue in the same vein, keeping the visitors on the back foot. A wicked Prince cross found Krief coming in, but though his shot evaded Lewis, Collins was back on the line to somehow block with an outstretched leg.

Moments later, and Moor Green were in front again. Penny, the man who many thought should not have been on the pitch was unmarked in the box from a corner, and he made no mistake diverting the ball into the back of the net. Midworth saw his distance effort easily collected by Pettinger before blocking Krief?s edge of the box shot out for a corner at the other end.

Celtic continued to create chances and it seemed only a matter of time before an equaliser came. Hume came close, heading Maxfield?s curling cross onto the bar before Prince made a dazzling run and picked out Smith (on for Krief), running into the box. Smith took a touch to create some space and fired in a low rasping drive that Lewis got nowhere near as the ball nestled into the bottom corner to send the playing staff racing over to Reed in the dugouts so he could share the congratulations.

Moments later, and Winn fed a ball through to Prince whose rising shot flashed over Lewis and the bar before a quick passing move saw Smith, Ellington and Prince all have shots blocked by defenders and the keeper. After substitute Bridgewater brought down Prince and earned a yellow card, the free kick was curled to the back post where Ellington dove in with Penny, only for the diving header to go agonisingly wide.

The miss was to prove costly as a defensive mix up was capitalised on by Anderson who nipped in and claimed his second with a somewhat scrappy goal. With time running out, Celtic were getting desperate, and Prince?s low shot was unintentionally handled by Penny just inside the box, the rebound falling to Flynn who took a fierce shot just wide of the mark. Deep into stoppage time, Winn got a chance to be a hero when a poor clearance fell to him at the edge of the box, and though Lewis was at full stretch he couldn?t quite reach the shot and looked immensely relieved as the ball bounced an inch wide of the post.

At the end of the match, the results show that Moor Green won, but the score line doesn?t always tell the whole story, as this was a vastly improved performance from Celtic. If the defence can just stop leaking as many goals per game as they are, wins will come as the rest of the play is good enough.

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