Match Report -
Brace from Jennings sees off Worcester
By Iain Benson

Celtic bossed the first period, and enough left in the tank to hold off a determined second half performance from Worcester to not only keep their lead but extend it.

Steve Brogan and Lloyd Ellams let the visitors know what to expect when quick passing gsave them half opening that they put wide, before a cracking shot from Brogan required a smart stop, with the City keeper, James Dormand, going down to his left to smother. A similar chance fell for Wilkinson that again required a decent stop as the twenty-yard shot skimmed across the grass toward goal, the ball tipped out for a corner that, at the second attempt, saw Rhys Meynell’s header blocked on-route to the top corner by Matyn Naylor. Jan Budtz was a whisker away from getting his first ever goal as he launched a long shot down field with Dormand off his line, the ball bounced over Dormand, with the City keeper backpedalling and throwing a hand up, fortunately for the City keeper the ball cleared the crossbar by a fraction.

Celtic were getting closer, with a hopeful lob from Jennings clearing the angle, and Brogan’s distance effort also clearing the bar. Worcester’s excellent defence were going to crack, and they did so as Jack Rea’s pass out to the wing set Joel Bembo-Leta on a powerful run towards the Worcester box. Bembo-Leta evaded a couple of challenges to get to the by line and pull the ball back for Jennings to side foot under Dormand and open the scoring.

Phil Marsh was a whisker away from doubling that lead just before half time as he slid in on Andy McWilliams’s superb cross, but it was inches away from him.

The second period saw Worcester have the better of the opening period, just after the hour mark, substitute Simon Brown getting Worcester’s first chance, heading Neil Cartwright’s free kick at Jan Budtz. Mike Simons ran himself into the ground for the cause, and did get half a chance, but again Budtz was there to keep him at bay before Emeka Nwadike came agonisingly close to equalising for City as he stooped in off a corner only for his close range effort to come back off a combination of Budtz and the post with twenty minutes left.

Celtic were starting to get a grip of the game again, with intricate football to regain the tempo of the match, Wilkinson and Jennings both went close, the latter’s attempted lob superbly tipped away by Dormand.

With just over ten minutes remaining, Celtic made sure thanks to Jennings’s second, and it was a goal worthy to be called a match winning goal. A free kick routine eventually saw Steve Brogan whip an outstanding cross into the box in the danger area, Connor Jennings was first to it, leaping and making a great contact to give Dormand no chance at all, and Celtic the three points.

All credit to Worcester, they kept up the pressure on a Celtic back line that was comfortable in absorbing it, Mike Symons trying his luck from distance and a Brown cross to the far post met by an unmarked Tom Thorley who somehow contrived to lift the ball over the bar from a yard out with the goal at his mercy. It was a case of anything you can do, we can do also as Brogan found substitute Mitchell Austin with a similar ball only for Austin to lift the ball over a gaping net. With seconds left on the clock, substitute Craig Hobson could have put a gloss on the score-line when Austin released him to beat the high offside trap and he raced one-on-one with Dormand, but the Worcester keeper made a great stop, tipping the ball out for a corner. There was barely time to take the corner before the full time whistle and Celtic maintain their three goal cushion at the top of the table.

1Dormand, James  
2Naylor, MartynYellow Card 
3Cartwright, Neil  
4Nwadike, Emeka  > 74
5Ayres, Lee  
6Clarke, Ryan  
7Smith, Lee  
8OConnor, Kevin  
9Symons, Mike  
10Corbett, Luke  > 61
11Thirley, Tom  
12Elvins, Rob  
14Edwards, Danny  < 74
15Rowe, Jacob  
16Brown, Simon  < 61
17Sargeant, Matt  
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