The game started at a cracking pace with chances at both ends. Lloyd Ellams found enough space for a curling effort into Paul Phillips midriff and Hobson had a super dipping effort over Phillips that crashed back off the bar with Steve Brogan putting the rebound wide. At the other end, Banim put a fierce shot across the face before Luke Holden took a free kick that Jan Budtz came through a crowd for, but misjudged and it settled in the back of the net.
Moments later and Connor Jennings came racing in from the wing, danced past one challenge and was brought crashing to the ground by Colin Cryan inside the box. Brogan stepped up and smashed the equaliser in. If the card was a little harsh, it was equalised when Gardener's rash tackle was only a yellow. Right before half time, Celtic almost made the numerical advantage count when Lloyd Ellams flicked a header over Phillips at the near post only for Liam Brownhill to get back and head clear off the line.
The second managed to live up to the blood and thunder first half. Celtic attacked Droylden from the off, with Jennings firing across the face, and Ellams seeing his effort blocked on route to goal by John Hardiker. Craig Hobson put a corner just over the bar, and Jennings cut inside and forced Phillips into a good stop. Seconds later and Celtic put together a great move, with Rule overlapping onto Jennings's well weighted ball before returning the favour for Jennings to smash into the top corner.
Droylsden responded with ever more aggressive challenges that resulted in Ciaran Kilheeney taking out his frustration on Rhys Meynell sliding rashly in and seeing his marching orders. With a two man advantage, perhaps Celtic should have gone looking for a third to kill off the home side, but instead spread the ball around making Droylsden run and chase shadows. Celtic did come close to scoring through a dipping effort from Brogan that needed a great save from Phillips to tip it over. For a moment, it looked like Celtic had got the killer third ball when Hobson latched onto Brogan's ball over the top rounded Phillips and bumbled the ball into the net, but was called offside.
It was only going to take one mistake, and it came with five minutes to go. A loose ball picked up by Jody Banim who ran one-on-one with Budtz, he rounded the Celtic keeper and slid the ball home against his former club.
|2||Vaughan, James||> 34|
|6||Boyd, Mark||> 15|
|8||McNiven, David||> 71|
|12||Gardner, Dan||< 15|
|15||Connor, Michael||< 71|
|16||Roche, Lee||< 34|