Thursday, 3 June 2010
In what is fast becoming a trade mark, Toronto Celtic kicked off the game with the same vigour carried over from last weeks game against Transylvania. However the vigour and energy was not met with equal enthusiasm from opponents Nations United, who gave the impression that turning up for the game was a chore. An inconvenience stowed upon them like having to read this catty match report. Settling for a point seemed a far more appealing proposition, a tactic which was excruicatingly demonstrated by the Nations Keeper, who's goal kicks seemed to last longer than it would take to cap the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. McGolrick grew a fully fledged beard between one of the keepers epic kicks.
But, the notion that Nations United performance was lathargeic at best, is perhaps a diservice to the way Celtic went about their task. With Celtic enjoying the majority of the possession, and with Nations United camped in their own half like the timid school girls on the adjacent pitch, Celtic set about breaking the deadlock. First to knock on the door was Chihombori, employed as a support man behind the front two in a new formation being tested by Tibby. His headed effort drifted just over the bar after a good cross from Fitzpatrick.
Next to see a chance go begging was Teague. After Prior nodded a boucing ball that had eluded the Nations back line Teague was clean through just inside of the box. However not realinsing quite how much time he had, Teague tried an audacious lob, when the better option would have been to bring the ball down for a one on one with the keeper.
With the front line miss firing, Tibby, looking to squeeze a goal out of Celtic before the end of the half brought on fresh legs in McGoldrick and Kovac. The switch almost paid imediate dividends when Kovac took advantage of a loose ball in the box only to see his effort come back off the inside of the post, and rest gratefully in the keepers arms.
With the referee bringing the half to a close with no team able to register, Celtic came off the field frustrated and with a growing sesne of impatience. The message was clear, Celtic were to make their bossing of an inferior team pay with a goal, or pay the consequence and miss out on what should be 3 points.
Although the task was obvious, the second half carried on in similar fashion as the first had ended, with Celtic controlling the tempo while Nations searched for an elusive point, lumping the ball forward to know where in particular. In moments like these, it sometimes takes an intervention from perhaps not the most likely of sources. Following a corner, knocked into the mixer by Prior, Curley was able to escape the attentions of the Nations defenders and nod the ball down to Geordie new boy Murray, who was left open to poke home. Such was the subdued reaction from both sides, perhaps in desbelief that finally a defence had been breached, the bench assumed it was a side netting.
Luckily, the bench was soon reassured that Celtic had found the back of net. However, in doing so, Nations United suddenly now realised that they would have to actually attack with purpose in order to gain at least a draw, and so, they started to enjoy what was probably their best spell of the game.
With Celtic looking nervous as they edged in to the last ten minutes of the game, with only a single goal separating the two teams, Nations United had two golden opportunities which could have turned the game on its head. First, after Celtic failed to clear their lines following a jubious freekick awarded just outside the box, Nations United drilled in a 25 yarder which was cleared off the line by Sharkey. Next, Nations broke with numbers only to see a stinging long range effort by their number 28, come crashing off the cross bar.
In true end to end football, from the ensuing rebound, Celtic broke away with Nations United men still committed forward. Eventually Brooks recieved the ball on the left hand side of the 18 yard box. And, with one quick look up, the energetic Brooks picked his spot and unleashed a curling shot into the opposite top right corner. A memorable goal to bring to a close, what was a rather forgettable match.
It may not have been the prettiest of games, but Toronto Celtic proved they can win, and, when needed, win ugly. With a first victory in Division 2 now under their belt, Celtic will be happy to have made a bright start to the campaign, but will have to be more ruthless in the coming weeks when the opposition is of greater stature.