Match Report -
Celtic batter Blyth but don't breach their defence
By Iain Benson
The opening twenty minutes had enough football for two matches, as Celtic ran rampant over Blyth to get a goalless draw.

In almost the first minute, Greg Wilkinson was given the time and space twenty yards out with an inch perfect pass from Phil Marsh to curl the ball up and over Dan Lowson in the Blyth nets, only for the ball to smack against the woodwork. Moments later, and Craig Hobson played Wilkinson in on the overlap, from an astoundingly acute angle, Wilkinson drove hard at goal, and Lowson's reactions pushed the ball off the post and out for a corner. Lowson knew he was in a game as he had to go full stretch to tip Rhys Meynell's dipping volley over the bar, and then adjust himself to catch Lloyd Ellam's effort moments later.

Blyth did manage a shot on target, from fifty yards with Nicky Deverdics firing straight at Jan Budtz.

The onslaught continued with Wilkinson smashing the ball through a crowd, and Phil Marsh emerging from a crowd of Blyth defenders with the ball still at his feet, and Lowson did well to deny him. As the half wore on, Blyth closed Celtic down better, but even so, a superb ball from Jack Rea flashed across the face for Marsh to put wide, and one from Andy McWilliams evaded everybody. Right on the stroke of half time, Marsh got enough space at the edge of the box to fire in, but his effort on the turn cleared the bar.

The second period couldn't live up to the first, with Blyth packing the box, denying Celtic a route to goal, though Celtic maintained the possession around the Blyth box. The Celtic defence marshalled any teeth the Blyth attack had, Joel Bembo-Lita putting the league's top scorer in his pocket, although Paul Brayson did manage an effort early in the half, but it flashed across the face and wide. There were just no openings for Celtic to find that killer ball to reopen Blyth again, and it was nealy forty-five minutes later before either side had a clear cut chance, with Deverdics lashing at a half cleared free kick, send Budtz flying across the face to palm the effort away one handed. Seconds later and Marsh wriggled through the packed Blyth box and could see a sliver of goal, but his rising shot was over the bar.

Blyth will go home satisfied with the point, Celtic will be asking how they didn't get the ball across the line.

1Lowson, Dan  
2Groves, DanYellow Card 
3Cave, Phil  
4Tait, Michael  
5Buchanan, WayneYellow Card 
6Wight, Alan  
7OMahoney, Liam  
8Turnbull, Stephen  
9Brayson, Paul  
10Deverdics, Nicky  
11Dale, Robbie  
12Ridley, Eoin  
14Alexander, John  
15Swailes, Chris  
17Cunningham, Jake  
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