There were eleven debutants named for Celtic's starting line up, with only Jack Rae starting from Saturday's starting eleven, and it was one of those debutants, Mark Pyatt who struck first, Ben Chapman in the Nantwich goal fisting his shot away, and Dave Tickle putting it over his own bar for a corner as Arthur Gnahoua closed in. Will Anderson had the next two efforts from Celtic, but neither particular troubled the Dabber's keeper. The Celtic team were containing their vastly more experienced hosts, with Nantwich's best chances of the half coming from Chris Flynn who forced Danny Jackson into a pair of fine saves, the one right before half time particularly excellent, with Flynn's fifty yard free kick evading everybody and Jackson racing across the face of his goal to palm it away.
Celtic started the second half at a fair pace and Dennis Sheriff almost took advantage of hesitancy at Nantwich's rear guard, but couldn't steer his shot quite far enough away from Chapman. Nantwich increased the pressure on an unfamilar back line for Celtic, with Joel and Fabrice Bembo-Leta playing along side Laquan Esdaille and Graeme Law, but they stood firm, conceding corner after corner, but protecting Jackson's goal. Charlie Reeves and Dave Whittaker both smashed corners wide when they should have done better while Kevin did head on targer for Nantwich, but Jackson was right there.
A Chris Flynn free kick was parried away by Jackon, and Celtic broke, only for Will Anderson to be brought down. A Floaated free kick from Graeme Law was nodded to the top corner by Esdaille, only for Chapman to make the catch. Celtic looked to be gaining the upper hand as their hosts started to flag from the quick tempo of the second half, and Joel Bembo-Leta thundered up the pitch from his own box, evading every tackle on route, with a little one-two with Richmond Botchey, only to be brought down by the Town keeper. Having been forced wide, it was yellow only for Chapman, and Graeme Law, as the most experience player for Celtic stepped up to take it.
The spot kick was hit with pace, but it was a good height for Chapman and he guessed right, punching the kick away to safety.
Celtic were made to pay for that two minutes from time when Callum Warburton upended Michael Carr just outside the Celtic box, while Celtic were sorting themselves out, nobody was stood over the ball, and Michael Lennon struck an early free kick leaving Jackson no chance.
It was that little bit of guile that Celtic lacked not standing over the ball on the free kick that was their undoing, but for nearly ninety minutes, they held their own against a nearly first team Nantwich outfit, showing how far the reserves are progressing.
|3||Tickle, Dave||> 88|
|10||Jack, Rodney||> 64|
|14||Lennon, Michael||< 64|
|15||Carter, Aaron||< 88|