The warning signs for this result were in evidence from the off, when Saunders got to the edge of the box and looped a shot over Gamble only to see his shot come crashing back off the bar.
Celtic did have chances, and a good early chance went begging when Hall lifted the ball across the face for Ellington coming in at the back post, but Ellington?s stooping header struck the post. Moments later, Ellington turned provider with a lay off pass to Barwick, but Barwick?s wicked shot was well collected by Reid in the Hucknall nets.
A shot from Bacon at the other end took a bad deflection off Woolliscroft, but it took all the pace out of the shot, and Gamble could collect.
Barlow was back to his best, and he took the ball through the massed Hucknall defence, only to be brought down right on the edge of the box by Timons. Roca?s free kick was defended well, but eventually came back to him, and his follow up shot was too high and too wide. Barwick was having his best game of the season so far, and he lifted a great cross over the defence for Barlow to chase, and he did so, but his flicked header was straight at Reid. Hall then provided Ellington with another chance, but Ellington?s scissor kick zipped narrowly wide.
Minutes before half time and Celtic gave themselves a mountain to climb. Saunders?s original shot beat Gamble, but Haran was on the line. However, the linesman saw a handball from the Celtic captain denying the goal, so the referee had no compunction in showing Haran a straight red and awarding Hucknall a penalty. Bacon stepped up to take, and smacked his penalty kick against the bar.
Hucknall didn?t let the penalty miss faze them and Saunders was soon back in the thick of it, heading a lofted cross towards goal in a knot of Celtic defenders, but it was a comfortable catch for Gamble, before he then shot wide after latching onto a defence splitting pass.
Payne was brought on for Roca to shore up the under fire defence, and his first contribution was to provide Ellington with a long cross that Reid came to claim but didn?t hold, fortunately for Hucknall, Asher was there to thump the ball clear.
A man down, Celtic were fortunate to go into the break at 0-0, and were still creating chances.
Bacon and Graves both tested Gamble in the opening minutes of the second half, but Gamble was equal to both. Graves then tried the impossible shot from a tight angle, but again Gamble was there to deny him. Celtic slowly got back into the game, and Garner whipped in a cross from the left, Hall got there first and put a thumping header in only to see the ball fly wide of the upright with Reid beaten. Garner then won a corner, but Ellington?s header was over the bar as Celtic struggled to get shots on target.
Celtic were made to pay as a ball into the box was met by the head of Graves as the Celtic defence looked for the offside that never came, and Graves made sure putting the visitors one up.
Celtic could have equalised straight away when Reid came for a cross but didn?t reach it and Barlow latched onto it, but shot agonizingly wide. Burbeary was brought down just outside the box by McPherson, but Mayman deflected the free kick for a corner that Celtic couldn?t convert.
Winn brought down Mayman thirty-five yards out, and Garner put the free kick out for a corner. Saunders got a foot on the corner, but Gamble made the save. Celtic again moved the ball well towards the Hucknall box, Ellington took the ball from Barlow and rode a couple of challenges to get a shooting chance, and his low drive forced a decent stop out of Reid.
After a foul by McPherson on Burbeary, the Hucknall defence struggled to get the ball clear, but as Barlow brought the ball down, he was adjudged to have unfairly challenges Timons and the chance was gone. Winn lofted a cross into the box for Ellington, Ellington did well to reach it, but his flicked header was a comfortable take for Reid.
With Celtic committed forward, Cullingworth found plenty of space to run into to go one-on-one with Gamble. As the Celtic keeper came out, Cullingworth calmly chipped the ball over him and in under the bar to double Hucknall?s lead and compound Celtic?s misery.
Celtic had no choice now but to go for it. Hucknall tried to slow it down with a substitution that worked better than Hucknall could have hoped, with Akers?s first touch providing the opening for fellow substitute Kistell to nip in and slot the ball under Gamble and add a gloss to Hucknall?s result.
Celtic need to find their shooting boots quickly, or face a slide down the table. The chances were created, but accuracy was the missing factor.
|7||Cullingworth, James||> 90|
|10||Bacon, Danny||> 86|
|11||Graves, Eric||> 80|
|12||Kistell, Ben||< 80|
|14||Akers, Stephen||< 90|
|15||Howell, Anthony||< 86|