Stunning comeback earns Celtic a point at Morpeth

West Allotment celebrate David Dormand's late equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Morpeth Town. Picture by Graeme Jackson.
West Allotment celebrate David Dormand's late equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Morpeth Town. Picture by Graeme Jackson.

Having endured a miserable five-game losing streak, West Allotment Celtic registered a priceless point at Craik Park on Saturday.

They sensationally overhauled a three-goal deficit against high fliers Morpeth Town.

Celtic started the brighter of the two teams and were a matter of inches away from opening the scoring after just eight minutes.

Liam Hudson found David Dormand in the area, and, though the striker’s route to goal was blocked, the ball found its way to Michael Bell, whose vicious drive took a decisive nick off Marc Lancaster en route to rebounding off the post.

Hudson was in the thick of it again soon after, out-muscling full back David Hiftle in the area and laying it on a plate to Dormand, who shot directly at Karl Dryden from just five yards out.

Allotment’s fans had their heads in their hands at the miss, and would experience further despair two minutes later as Sean Taylor’s cross from the right was expertly tucked away by Michael Chilton in the area, handing Morpeth a somewhat unlikely lead.

Undeterred, Celtic came again, and more good work by Hudson and Dormand saw the ball worked across to the indomitable Bell on the right flank. He caught the volley well enough but the ball flashed past the angle of the woodwork.

Dryden almost let a looping Henderson attempt get the better of him before palming away a drilled Mark Fenwick shot.

But despite their dominance and hard graft, Allotment somehow went into the break one goal down.

The second half followed a similar pattern for Paul Stoneman’s men.

Henderson could not quite keep a Michael Chilton header from creeping over the line, doubling Town’s advantage within three minutes of the restart, and a deftly chipped finish from Taylor after a sliced clearance from deputising centre half Sean Reid seemingly put Morpeth out of sight just after the hour.

However, rather than folding as they had one week ago at Guisborough, Allotment valiantly stuck to their guns, hitting back through a magnificent Tony Lancaster rasper.

The wonder strike travelled a full 25 yards on its way into the top corner, giving Dryden no chance between the sticks.

Celtic should have had a penalty in the first half when a foul on Fenwick was wrongly adjudged to have occurred outside of the area, but there was to be no mistake second time around.

Dormand won a foot-race to a loose ball in the box, getting a decisive touch prior to the defender’s rash tackle. Up stepped designated penalty taker Reid to slam the ball low past Dryden, giving Celtic hope of a result with ten minutes remaining.

Allotment pressed for the increasingly likely leveller, and Hudson was a matter of millimetres away from bundling in Reid’s header towards the back post.

However, the green and whites would get their just desserts as the game entered stoppage time.

Dormand strode through the middle of the park unopposed, in part thanks to an unseen tactical foul by Hudson. The centre forward exacted sweet revenge upon his old club, side-footing his effort just beyond the diving Dryden to seal a morale-boosting draw.

It marked a pleasing and overdue return to form for Celtic, who on reflection would have been worthy winners on the day.

Bell, Henderson and Michael Hall particularly impressed in a vastly improved team performance, winning the midfield battle and carving out far more chances than in previous games.

It was not enough to elevate Celtic out of the bottom three, but it could well become a watershed moment in their division one campaign.