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Match Report -
Cracks beginning to appear?
By Iain Benson
If a team learns more from a defeat than a win, Celtic should have a degree by now. With both John Reed and Mark Atkins on holiday, it fell to Scott Maxfield to take on Radcliffe a team that narrowly avoided relegation from the Unibond Premier last season.

The early play was fairly even, but Celtic started to unravel quarter of an hour in, and Borough capitalised. A Heald free kick was pushed around the post by Buxton for a corner, which was floated into the box, and Rose took the unchallenged header to put the home side a goal up.

Celtic's first chance took twenty-five minutes to arrive, and it came from a Forde cross flicked on by Hume to Winn. Winn took the shot but it lacked the power to test Hurst in the home nets. As the only shot on target by Celtic in the whole game, at least it was on target. Hume did get close, turning and firing powerfully off a throw, but it was wide.

Radcliffe were passing and spreading the ball well, and Lugsen chased a ball lifted over the defence, reaching it ahead of Keeling, but he pulled his shot across the face, as did Wilson when Lugsen pulled the ball back from him after doing well to keep it in.

Just after half time, Snodin had a chance to equalise when Sykes nodded the ball down to him at the edge of the area, but his shot was deflected for a corner. The play got scrappy, and Celtic looked misshapen, but it wasn't until just past the hour mark that Radcliffe should have doubled their lead. McFaddon found a yard of space twenty yards out but his well struck shot thudded against the post and Buxton calmly took the rebound.

Celtic's best chance of the game fell to Kharas. Black's well flighted cross into the box left Hurst stranded as Kharas nipped in and tried to loop his header over the home keeper, but the ball cleared the bar as well.

Radcliffe did double their lead moments later when Heald cut inside and had a shot from a narrow angle, Buxton did well to save with his feet, but the ball fell kindly for Fisher some twenty yards out, his shot was straight down the gap in the Celtic back line and into the net.

Maxfield brought himself on for Haran, and tried for the instant reply spinning the ball across the box for Parr, just back from his holidays, he got beyond the defence, but glanced his header just wide. Forde then went for the spectacular as Kharas laid the ball into his path, but shot wide also.

The game finished with a glorious chance for McFaddon, shooting from twenty-five yards and forcing Buxton into a one-handed save, tipping the ball over the bar. There was no time for a corner, as Mark Halsey, a top-class referee blew for full time.

With Celtic's squad stretched, the past few workouts have done more to worry the supporters than reassure them.

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