Once again, Harrogate started strongly, but Liam Shepherd?s shot was from distance and tame. Celtic were ready for the early storm, and came back strongly. After going close a couple of times with crosses, Dave Hankin found his man as Jody Banim came in with Aaron Ratchford stranded, Banim?s side-foot connected, and Celtic were a goal to the good.
Adam Nowakowski tried for the instant reply, but was unable to get close enough to goal to put in a shot to trouble Dave Carnell. And after that it was one-way traffic towards the Harrogate goal. Despite the possession and territory advantage, Celtic were struggling with the final ball, with an effort from Joe O?Neill the best opening worked, with a good stop at the second attempt by Ratchford. When the ball from a corner was cleared as far as John Hardiker, the shot back in was worthy of any striker, and the save had to match.
The second half continued in much the same vein, Danny Adams and Michael Twiss both coming close, as did Banim when Matty Barlow set him up. Dan Broadbent was only shown a yellow for a very late challenge on Dave Carnell that left the Celtic keeper requiring treatment for several minutes, however he was able to carry on. Barlow came on, as he had in Harrogate, and like in Harrogate he almost set Banim up again, with virtually his first touch, Banim firing over the bar.
Twiss brought a great save from Ratchford, from a corner, whilst O?Neill brought out a better flying save from the Harrogate stopper. It was only a matter of time, and when O?Neil gave way to Connor Jennings, it was a brand new threat for the Harrogate defence, and they couldn?t cope, especially when Keith Briggs sent Jennings on his way to go one-on-one with Ratchford. Remembering Craig Hobson, Jennings didn?t wait for Ratchford to clatter him, he slotted it past the advancing keeper and gave Celtic a cushion.
Banim skied a pull back from Barlow before Jennings made the game safe when Barlow, Banim and Jennings teased the visiting defence and keeper with intricate passing in the box that had the defenders chasing shadows before Jennings applied the coup-de grace with a fine finish. There was no time, or will, for Harrogate to get back into the game, and Celtic cruised past the finish line.
|7||Broadbent, Dan||> 60|
|8||Dunning, Richard||> 71|
|11||Shepherd, Liam||> 77|
|14||Harrison, Simon||< 60|
|15||Yeo, Simon||< 77|
|17||Bradley. Jason||< 71|