Celtic fail to turn the ‘Corner’ in key league game

Lurgan Celtic crashed to another heavy defeat this time away to Chimney Corner in a very disappointing display.

Again manager Ciaran O’Kane went into the game missing a number of regulars but still should have had enough on the field to get something from the game against fellow strugglers Chimney Corner who before the game were a point above the Hoops.

Stephen McArdle and Stephen Boyd both made welcome returns to the side with father and son John and Caolan Campbell again featuring. The game started in similar fashion to last week with Celtic dominating possession but as usual could not provide the cutting edge in the attacking third.

John Campbell produced an exquisite through ball in the 8th minute to find McArdle but his lack of match action lately showed as his weak effort was easily saved. Celtic’s downfall in many matches this season have been defensive lapses and again a floating free kick from the home side in the 12th minute eluded the Hoops defence to drift in and give Corner a surprise lead.

The remaining minutes of the first half were closely fought and despite promising build up play Celtic lacked a finishing touch as top scorer Raymond Fitzpatrick was missing.

Right back Paul McAnallen, who was showing up well and who never lacks conviction in his tackling, had to leave the action early due to a head injury requiring stitches and was replaced by Conway who took up an unfamiliar role at the back.

The second half started brightly for the home side but the first clear chance fell to Caolan Campbell after McArdle’s clever pass but the younger Campbell blazed over. That proved to be the turning point as The Hoop’s then pushed forward in search of the equaliser and so left acres of space for Chimney Corner to exploit and they increased their lead a further three times to inflict another heavy defeat on The Hoop’s.

Celtic, who have made an un-welcomed habit of losing focus when behind and so shipping some heavy scorelines have to re-group quickly as the games come flying at them in the coming weeks with a tricky Mid-Ulster cup tie at home to Valley Rangers next up with a change of kick-off time of 2pm.

The McLean’s sponsored Man of the Match was awarded to Stephen Boyd.