Celtic cutting edge is missing again

Lurgan Celtic were keen to get back to wining ways after dropping valuable points last week in injury time to Institute.

The visitors started brightly, with the keen wind at their backs, and asked the home defence a few questions early on.

In the 10th minute Jason Johnston got the first effort on target, when his improvised hooked volley under pressure, 14 yards out, forced Sean O’Neill to make a save. Celtic began to settle and looked threatening themselves.

On 22 minutes a long throw launched into the Comrades box broke to Niall Devlin, who fired a first time shot into the side netting.

In the 30th minute the home side hit the front when a free-kick played into the box fell to Haire who struck the ball home from eight yards. Seven minutes later it was 1-1.

A throw-in from Mark Shannon bounced over John Cochrane’s head at the edge of the box and Chris Trussell ran on to it before striking a superb volley from 15 yards into the far top corner of the net.

On 44 minutes Trussell got on the end of a ball into the box and knocked it into the path of Jason Johnston who made it 1-2 at the interval.

Celtic pressed strongly from the start of the second half and they were back on level terms in the 55th minute when a corner played into a crowded area was unfortunately punched into his own net by Paddy Flood.

The home side now had the momentum and on 53 minutes they came close to taking the lead. Raymond Fitzpatrick got free on the right and fired in a crisp shot from an angle, which Flood blocked. The ball rebounded out to Barton whose shot from the edge of the box was cleared in front of the line by Curtis Woods.

Celtic continued to push for the winner and their cause was helped when the visitors where reduced to 10 men after Woods was sent off for a tackle on Haire who was bearing down on goal.

Flood in the Comrades nets was increasingly becoming the visitors man of the match after a string of fine saves from Barton, Haire and Fitzpatrick. With five minutes left Celtic were also reduced to ten when Sean Devlin was red carded for a high tackle, but Celtic still looked likely to sneak a winner. Fitzpatrick had another effort saved before Nathan Lavery, who was introduced as a sub, with his first touch was through on goal with only the keeper to beat but his shot was welled saved by Flood in the Comrades nets.

Another frustrating day for the Hoops with silly goals costing them dear once again.

McLeans Bookmakers man of the match was midfielder Brendan Shannon and the match ball was sponsored by Mickey Byrne Fuels.

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