Three goals in nine minutes leave Celtic battered

WEST Allotment hosted a match at Blue Flames for the first time since November 2, but it did not prove to be a happy homecoming as Consett continued their league hoodoo over Celtic.

The Steelmen, along with Penrith, remain the only clubs that Allotment have yet to record a victory over since the Whitley Park outfit joined the league in 2004.

However, Celtic will rarely have a better opportunity to erase this statistic; for, although the Steelmen top the league table, they had not played a match for almost two months and the rust was palpable in the opening half.

The game remained shapeless for large periods, with neither keeper troubled unduly.

Yet, in the moments leading up to the interval, there were small signs that both sides were beginning to apply WD40 to their rustiness and one or two half-chances began to creak into view.

A good move by Allotment saw Lee Hamilton whip in a cross that narrowly evaded the lunging head of Marc Walton and it was quickly followed by a Consett break that ended with Scott Martindale heading the ball straight at Chris Bannon.

Back at the other end, Stephen Buzzeo warmed the hands of Poskett in the Consett goal with a well controlled volley from the edge of the box.

Then, with the half-time approaching, Allotment made the breakthrough.

A diagonal crossfield finally came off deep into added on time as the ball found Andrew Dugdale and the midfielder quickly slipped it forward into the path of Walton whose low angled drive slipped under Poskett and found the corner of the net.

And with the home fans hoping for a second goal in the second half, the 55th minute proved to be pivotal.

With the Consett rearguard caught too far forward, David Molloy latched onto the ball just inside the visitors half and clear on goal.

After drawing the keeper, instead of clipping the ball over the exposed keeper, he wanted an extra touch and this allowed defenders to get back and block his shot, although Allotment fans called for a penalty as Molloy was caught as he tried to shoot.

The cost of the miss soon inflated dramatically as Allotment imploded in spectacular fashion; conceding three goals in the space of nine manic minutes.

On each occasion, the ball ran straight to a Consett forward to apply a simple finishing touch; Poole was the first lucky recipient in the 62nd minute and Daniel Craggs and Dale Burrell followed him onto the scoresheet in the 64th and 71st minute respectively.

Celtic did well to shake off the effects of the triple-whammy and, perhaps sensing that the Steelmen were tiring, created a series of openings.

Lee Hamilton blazed a shot over the bar and Walton smacked a shot against the upright before he curled home a fine effort from 20-yards.

The goal set up a frantic final seven minutes and, by now, the visitors had changed their keeper. Peter Jameson proved his worth with an outstanding save to keep out a Walton free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

Celtic fell to their 13th defeat of the season, with all but two having been by more than one goal.

However, as captain Stephen Buzzeo pointed out, a turn-around needs to start happening sooner rather than later, for five victories and 18 points is nowhere near good enough a return now that exactly half of the league programme has been completed.

The team has no game this weekend, due to Dunston’s involvement in the FA Vase, so the next fixture is at home against South Shields on Wednesday, January 19, kick-off 7.30pm.

Allotment:- Bannon, Brooking (Dunn), Novak, Hughes (Dugdale), Scott, S. Buzzeo, Gardiner, McAlindon (Morris), Walton, Hamilton, Molloy. Subs not used: Minto, Brown.