Match Report -
Has a play-off chance gone for Celtic now?
By Deborah Taylor

Celtic are technically still in with an outside chance of reaching the playoffs, but Nantwich have a better chance, after they converted four of their five chances in the match.

Back from injury, Jack Tinning’s misjudged back-pass put Luke Hewitson in a world of trouble that deepened rapidly as he took down Giovanni Loureiro, catching the Nantwich forward as he stepped to the side. Byron Harrison took the spot kick, cheekily sending it straight down the middle. Celtic worked a couple of chances to equalise. Cole Lonsdale’s corner almost creeping in as it curled back in the strong wind, and Lonsdale turning supplier for Rio Clegg, but alert, Ben Garratt collected the ball at Clegg’s feet, while it required a flying tip over from Garratt to deny Lonsdale off a second corner. Greg Wilkinson stepped up to hand the Dabbers their second, clumsily challenging Harrison at the edge of the box. The wall looked slightly off, and Courtney Meppen Walters took advantage, firing through the narrowest of gaps. Nantwich’s third came just before the interval, Kai Evans firing into a crowd and getting a ricochet off a Celtic leg, wrong footing Hewitson, though Evans claimed the goal.

Moments after Tinning limped from the field midway through the second half, the home side took advantage of Celtic rejigging the back line to let Paddy Kay slip in unmarked to get into Timi Sobowale. Four down with twenty minutes remaining seemed a big ask, but with Nantwich easing back on the throttle, thinking the game won, Celtic started looking likely to score. It needed a shin from Meppen-Walters to deny a stab on goal from Darius Osei, but from the resulting corner, Brad Byrne flicked on the near post header for Max Leonard to stoop in and pull one back. Five minutes later and Nantwich found themselves pegged back another, as Connor O’Grady’s header brought out a flying block from Garratt, but Byrne was on hand to smash in the loose ball.

However, too little too late and barring a miracle, Celtic’s chance at a play-off spot has gone.

1Garrett, Ben  
2Sobowale, TimiYellow Card 
3Bircumshaw, Perry  
4Bourne, TroyYellow Card 
5Meppon-Walters, Courtney  
6Connolly, Joel  
7Kay, Paddy  
8Okome, Nathan  
9Harrison, Byron  > 82
10Loureiro, Giivanni  > 85
11Evans, Kai  > 78
12Lawton, Sean  < 85
13Merner, Eric  
14Moran, Jon  
15Raffie, Akiel  < 82
16Saunders, Callum  < 78