The Southport defence was limiting Celtic to no clear sights of goal, but though Ellington forced an early save from the visiting keeper, McMillan wasn't really tested, though he had to be on his toes when Torpey's low smashed shot looped high and was pushed over the bar for a corner. Celtic's opening period showed some promise, and Williams's shot sailing over the bar came after some good build up play.
Southport soaked it all up, and hit Celtic on the break, moving the ball swiftly up field through Duffy, who found the overlapping Lee, to put a ball to the feet of Gray. Nobody went to Gray and he had time to turn, weigh up his options and fire a low drive into the bottom corner beyond Phillips's reach.
Briggs got a couple of distant chances to level the scores, but put both efforts wide of the mark, before a late corner in the first half was only narrowly over Phillips's crossbar from Connolly.
Celtic needed lifting, but it was Southport that came out all guns blazing, full of confidence and right at the start of the half only heroic defending kept the score down. First a block on the line by Keeling after Gray had rounded Phillips, before the rebounded ball came to Kilheeney who saw Phillips make a good goal line save, the rebound coming back to Kilheeney to knock wide of the post.
Duffy and Gray both hit the side netting, before Celtic finally got back into gear and started causing problems for Southport again. Williams and Joynes both had efforts from outside the box, but neither forced McMillan to move, and with Torpey firing low across the face of goal and narrowly wide twice, it was looking like it wouldn't be Celtic's day. Ellington was unlucky after Davis misjudged a bouncing ball, but McMillan smothered on Ellington's feet, as the Celtic front man tried to stab the ball home.
As the game ran into the last few minutes, the introduction of Barlow upped the front line ante for Celtic, and he twice released Torpey, but on both occasions Torpey's efforts were wide, before Barlow himself had a drilled shot form the corner of the box that had McMillan stretching, but the ball zipped narrowly wide and with it, any chance of Celtic taking something from the game.
|6||Doolan, John||> 81|
|9||Gray, Tony||> 72|
|10||Kilheeney, Ciaran||> 76|
|12||Gray, Simon||< 81|
|15||Robinson, Neil||< 72|
|16||Daly, Steve||< 76|