Trinity had the better of the opening period, and Josh Davies?s ball to the back post was met by Leon Mettam sneaking in unmarked but he put his volley wide of the mark when it looked easier to score. At the other end, Tom Buckley interchanged nicely with Connor Jennings but put his flashing drive narrowly over the bar.
Celtic looked to be getting into gear and Greg Wilkinson?s ball was cleverly flicked by Phil Marsh into Jennings?s path giving him a run on the keeper, and his clever diagonal ball was well beyond the fingertips of Phil Barnes in the Gainsborough nets. Celtic kept possession well after the goal, controlling the midfield, until Brogan?s ball through for Marsh put him one-on-one with Phil Barnes. The Trinity keeper went down early, and Marsh knocked the ball past Barnes, but with both arms across Marsh?s legs, he brought Marsh crashing down for a stonewall penalty.
Some officials would have sent Barnes off, as there was nobody back covering, and Marsh hadn?t been pushed wide, but it was a booking only. Barnes redeemed himself with a superb flying save to the top corner to palm Brogan?s well struck penalty onto the crossbar. Celtic kept plugging away and Lloyd Ellams controlled Jack Rea?s ball very well, lifting it over one defender before controlling it on his knee and unleashing a rocket of a shop that saw Barnes flying to his left to make a vital and excellent stop just before the interval. From the corner, it was cleared as far back as Brogan. With the last kick of the half, Brogan?s fierce low drive was blocked on the line by Nathan Peat.
The second period saw Gainsborough again start the brighter, and Ryan Kendal?s fierce shot from the corner of the box flashed the wrong side of the upright before Jan Budtz was finally called into action to beat away Mettam?s powerful twenty-yard effort, with Mettam eventually receiving the corner only to lift it over the bar from three yards. Kendal latched onto a free kick on the hour, but Budtz was more than equal to it, stopping well.
Gainsborough were made to pay for their profligacy when Brogan drove a free kick to the near post, and Jennings out jumped the much taller Gavin Cowan to flick a header over Barnes and into the far top corner to give Celtic a deserved second with an outstanding goal. Celtic played the possession game very well after this, frustrating Gainsborough, and at one point strung thirty or forty passes together, before eventually losing it.
Kristian Platt was harshly adjudged to have brought down Kendal just outside the Celtic box, with the Celtic clearance falling to Kendal who forced Budtz into a full stretch tip around the post for a Trinity corner. Gavin Cowan was the highest jumper this time, powering his header at the near post past Budtz?s fingertips.
Celtic came right back at the home side, and Callum Warburtun?s ball gave Steve Brogan the space he needed for a fantastic shot that was equalled with another superb save from the home keeper who was having the game of his life. At the Celtic end, perennial thorn in our side, Luke Beckett had been brought on, and almost got his customary goal, but though he?d had the time and space he needed he mystifyingly fired high and wide.
Josh Davies fired a free kick narrowly over the Celtic bar before another good build up move from Celtic culminated in Ellams played in by Craig Hobson to smash a thunderous effort towards the bottom corner. Somehow Barnes flew across the face of his goal to push the shot away at the expense of a corner getting a good fist on the shot.
As the game went to the last few minutes, Trinity gambled and pushed forward allowing Brogan to steam in and fire across the face, but Barnes was there again, arm outstretched in full flight to palm the ball over the bar. Moments later, and Celtic did get the cushion they needed to see out the remaining seconds when Rhys Meynell?s ball from the back was chased down by Craig Hobson, Cowen and Hobson tasselled for the ball, with Hobson having more strength and determination than the defender; he raced towards goal and drew Barnes, so there was nothing the Trinity keeper could do as Hobson squared the ball for Lloyd Ellams coming in to smash a low shot into an unguarded net and secure the three points.
|10||McMahon, Lewis||> 70|
|15||Beckett, Luke||< 70|