I learned at the end of the match that son of Dave Pover (the physio at Celtic) died whilst the match was in progress. Dave had rushed back to Stalybridge after his son had collapsed on a football field and was rushed to hospital where he later died.
Our thoughts are with you Dave.
The game itself was a game, as the old saying goes, of two halves. From the opening Celtic looked on fire. Eastwood powered into the box, thumping his shot goal-bound, only for the ex-Celt Lee Coathup to block it into the path of Mayers who struck it first time into the corner of the net, going in off the post.
But this was a much improved Colwyn Bay side, playing as one Bay fan said, the best football they've played all season. They proved this with an opener from the kick off that Dootson had to take at the second attempt, and straight after the goal, they forced Dootson into a cracking save, palming McIlvogue's powerful shot onto the crossbar, and Graham almost capitalised when a deflection fell kindly onto his head, and he steered it goalward, only to go over.
Colwyn weren't the only team missing the target though, as Celtic struggled to get between the sticks, which German proved after some great initial play with Eastwood put him through on goal but he steered his shot just past the upright. Parr too missed the net when he volleyed Eastwood's cross, and later would miss again when Mayers chested the ball into his path.
Bay were also playing for keeps, with some very rough tackling that resulted in several yellows for the home side, though the referee stopped short of dismissing anybody, despite ample opportunity. But Celtic could not use the free kicks around the area. Danny Hooper took the kicks, but lacked the inventiveness of Potts and struck the wall on every occasion.
And it looked for a heart stopping moment as if Celtic would be made to pay, when Stannard's shot ricocheted of post after beating Dootson, only for Bowker to hack it clear before it could cross the line. Dootson then got to McIlvogue's cross, palming it off the head of Graham to safety. This was a very even contest.
A scare at the other end for Bay after Eastwood's persistence carried him through the defence but his shot was parried by Smith in the Colwyn keeper's jersey. It fell to Denham, and Smith saved with his foot, giving Celtic a corner. Which they could not convert.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, the referee indicated that there would be an additional minute of stoppage time, mistaking the fourth official's frantic gestures for a request for how long left. This comical behaviour would have cost Bay dear after Denham raced through the middle of the park, only to be badly fouled by Coathup, for which he got a yellow card. Given the distance Denham still had to run, that was fair, though Coathup had been the last defender.
After missing the target in the opening minute of the second half, Parr then lost the ball near the Bay area, and in a classic counter attack the Seagulls flocked forward. Stannard got to the by line with German in close pursuit. A well cut back ball went clean between Bowker and Dootson to Limbert at the edge of the area, as Dootson struggled to get back into position, Limbert slotted in at the near post.
Hooper tried to grab one back straight away, but leant back to far, and missed. Mayers at least was on target, but straight at Smith, as did Denham. When Riding's was elbowed in the centre circle by the goal scorer Limbert (he saw yellow) Hooper's ball found Parr's head. The keeper saved well but it came back to Parr and he headed it over the prostrate keeper into the back of the net. At no time could Parr have been offside, as he ran onto the ball from the centre circle, climbing past Caton to get there; and the keeper's parry would have played him on for the second header (last man to touch it was the opposition), and yet, miraculously, the linesman said he was. Celtic were denied a goal that would have kept Parr's scoring streak going and given them the three points.
Both sides conceded corners, but neither could do anything at all with them, and both sides let opportunities slip away, non more so than Furlong, when he escaped a handball decision controlling a long cross between Farrell and Bowker to go one on one with Dootson, he snapped at his shot and sent it sailing over the bar.
Limber got the better of German, and a great save from Dootson tipped the shot around for a corner to keep the scorers level, and he was again called into action to deny Moody. Bay were beginning to push up as the half progressed, and Celtic were content to let them.
That said, Denham did produce a good save from a stunning shot when he did an overhead kick after trapping a Mayers ball on his chest and back flipping.
The final act was a Bay attack, when Limbert's shot was deflected for a corner by Bowker, and Celtic cleared comfortably. After adding far too much time on the first half, the referee indicated three minutes of stoppages, then played only two. Perhaps he'd seen enough.
Celtic should have won this one, not by their performance, which was merely adequate, but by dint of scoring two goals. How the second was offside only the linesman knows - and I doubt he's sure. Colwyn played above and beyond themselves, and Celtic played within themselves, so a draw is, I suppose a fair result.