Celtic recover from two goal deficit to earn excellent draw

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Going into this game Lurgan Celtic would have taken a point against high flying Newington but at the full time whistle they felt as if they should have taken all three.

Manager Ciaran O’Kane went into the game missing Conor McAnallen and John Cochrane but welcomed back Stephen Boyd to give the back line much needed experience.

The game started with both sides having speculative efforts but both keepers dealt with the threat easily. Newington looked dangerous on the counter attack but McCabe and Boyd were in top form in the Celtic back line.

Celtic seemed to be sitting back and inviting pressure and it resulted in the away side taking the lead in the 19th minute when a cross eluded everyone except the winger for Newington to smash home the first goal. Buoyed by this Newington pressed on and striker Raymond Fitzpatrick dropped deeper to get on the ball leaving Toland to chase down any balls played up to him.

The away side doubled their advantage in the 35th minute as the Hoops defence were caught sleeping from a quick free kick as Newington were allowed all the time needed to square the ball for a tap in to increase their advantage.

Now facing a two goal deficit Celtic could have collapsed ,but they re-grouped and scored in the 37th minute when a break from the excellent McArdle who was again playing at right back fed Fitzpatrick and his return pass found McArdle again to slot home.

Just before the break Celtic snatched an equalizer when an excellent free kick floated over the defence to allow Fitzpatrick to score. The second half started with Newington firing into the challenges and with their players berating the ref it was only a matter of time before their numbers were reduced, but it was their manager who was first to go after and he was closely followed by two further players. With a numerical advantage the emphasis was on the Hoops to push on but they seemed to be over cautious as Newington still looked dangerous on the break, but in the final minutes Celtic had chances but somehow couldn’t find the decisive final ball that would have given them all three points.