Celtic stumbled to a defeat against a Stafford side much improved on early season.
Though Celtic started strongly, carving out the lionâ€™s share of chances in the opening half hour, this did not translate into goals. Jay Fitzmartin tried a shot almost from kick-off with Mateusz Hewell off his line, but the shot went wide, whilst Charley Doyleâ€™s similar effort flashed over the bar. Keenan Quansah side footed the wrong side of the post latching onto a free kick, as did Justin Johnsonâ€™s volley. Just past the half hour mark, Celticâ€™s profligacy became their undoing as Joe Cuff took advantage of some lacklustre defending and blazed a shot from the tightest of angles into the back of the net giving Stafford a slender lead at the interval.
The second half took a while to get going, but Fitzmartin should have equalised with a glancing header from Raul Correiaâ€™s cross that required Hewell to make a sharp stop. Rangers were defending in numbers and hitting Celtic on the counter, and doing it well, snuffing out any chances Celtic could fashion. Any chance Celtic had vanished when Connor Oâ€™Grady brought down Kaiman Anderson in the box for a clear penalty. Thomas Tonks stepped up and left Liam Hughes stationary with his shot flashing into the top corner.
Stafford were content to sit on the lead and Celtic lacked the guile to break them down, giving the appearance of a regulation win for the home side.
|8||Tonks, Thomas||> 90|
|9||Anderson, Kaiman||> 80|
|11||Cuff, Joe||> 90|
|14||Kenton, Joseph||< 90|
|16||Abbey, Jediael||< 90|
|17||Charles, Jake||< 80|