Celtic left to rue missed chances and a late penalty

WEST Allotment Celtic have yet to find the net twice in a match this season and they continued the unwanted record against Guisborough Town after missing a penalty in the fourth minute of injury time.

Yet again chances were spurned and it cost Celtic any hope of an extended run in the FA Vase; something their overall performance deserved.

Allotment started the match shakily against their division one opponents and it was no surprise when the home team took the lead in the ninth minute.

A long punt from defence was not cut out and David Onions was allowed to run free; he was tackled but the ball fell kindly for Austin Johnstone, who calmly side-footed the ball past a helpless Aiden Ames.

The dose was almost repeated four minutes later when Paul Haxon mistimed his tackle on Luke Bythway and the Boro forward raced clear to fire in a cross that was just scooped over the bar by Johnstone.

At this point, it seemed unlikely Allotment would get a shot on target, never mind score. However, the home defence did overplay at the back and, for a while, got away with it.

That pattern changed in the 23rd minute when Tony Lancaster managed to nip in and intercept another poor pass and, as he was wrestled out of the way by the home keeper Jack Norton, the ball broke to Mark Minto, who clipped a daisy-cutter back towards the goal from an acute angle.

The ball rolled slowly against the far post before trickling inches over the line.

Boro’s early domination vaporised and Celtic began to look much more threatening, a Roy Gordon drive stinging the hands of Norton.

Ominously, Allotment failed to turn the threat into a tangible product.

Stephen Little had a chance on half-time, but the unmarked centre-half failed to apply any meaningful touch to a corner.

Both teams went for the decisive strike after the interval but it was the visitors that looked more likely to emerge winners.

There were some scares, with Bythway cracking a shot off the crossbar and Onions missed a clear opening.

With the game entering injury-time, an extra 30 minutes looked inevitable.

However, plenty of injury-time after Norton had been down for a knock was more than enough for Celtic to commit two fatal errors.

An Allotment corner was cleared and a misplaced pass saw Boro breaking. Two desperate blocks kept the ball out of the net; but the third from Bythway took a lethal deflection and the ball looped agonisingly over the prostrate Ames.

Celtic had a chance to redeem the situation, as substitute Dean Lee broke into the box and was brought down.

It looked a clear penalty but the referee did not award it until his assistant flagged.

Paul Haxon stepped up and although he hit his shot well enough, the effort was always too close to Norton.

There was barely time for either side to regroup.

It has been a strange start to the season, with Allotment playing well for long periods but the fact remains that a lack of goals has seen them exit the FA Cup and FA Vase at the first hurdle and squander at least six league points.

Allotment: Ames, Rue, Haxon, Dunn, Stoneman, Little, Henderson, Gordon (Douglas), Minto (Lee), Soulsby (Bell), Lancaster. Sub not used: Dummett.