Celtic show fighting spirit to salvage a point

BetVictor Premier Division: Stalybridge Celtic 2-2 South Shields

Celtic had to settle for a point against the joint league leaders in a goal filled game.

The hosts had to come from behind twice with Darius Osei netting a brace but could feel unlucky not to have won with numerous chances created against a classy Shields side.

Celtic started the game well, Preston loanee Adam O’Reilly had the games first chance after just five minutes. Osei did well to win the ball back inside his own half, he found Tony Whitehead who played a ball in behind the Shields defence, where O’Reilly was just beaten to the ball by Ryan Whitley.

The away side took the lead on 11 minutes, through Wouter Verstratten. A corner from the left wasn’t cleared and the midfielder was able to poke home past Alex Fojticek.

Verstraaten had another effort not long after however Fojticek was this time able to save at his near post, although the shot was pretty tame from the goalscorer.

This proved to be a turning point as Celtic then raced up the other end and were awarded a penalty. Osei was brought down just inside the area and the referee had no hesitation. Osei stepped up and sent Whitley the wrong way, drawing Celtic level on 21 minutes.

Celtic’s equaliser seemed to stun the joint league-leaders and Celtic took advantage of that, nearly taking the lead. O’Reilly who constantly pressed the Shields defence, won the ball and sent Osei running towards goal, he cut inside and fired a cracking shot back off the post, desperately unlucky.

Celtic moved the ball around nicely and Craig Hobson was a constant menace up front, his first game back since his foot injury.

Celtic’s number nine was picked out seven minutes from the break by debutant Scott Metcalfe, however Hobson couldn’t keep his header down and the sides went into the break level.

The visitors were awarded a penalty 15 minutes into the second half after a collision inside the penalty area. Substitute Robert Briggs converted the penalty and Celtic found themselves behind.

Celtic searched for an equaliser and were nearly rewarded when Osei sent a low cross in from the right, Lacey managed to connect with the ball but it was blocked.

Ethan Walker replaced Hobson and he was immediately involved, seeing two shots saved at close range.

O’Halloran headed wide from O’Reilly’s cross but it wasn’t to matter as Celtic found the equaliser.

Osei was picked out inside the area, he turned past the defender before firing across goal into the bottom corner, giving Celtic a deserved second goal.

Celtic pushed for a third but had to settle for a point against the joint league leaders.

By Taran Dhamrait

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