Celtic battled their way past a defensively minded Histon, who even when a goal down never looked adventurous enough to try and get a goal back.
Steve Brogan got an early chance from a set piece just outside the box, an extended leg from Danny Sparkes deflecting the ball out for a corner. Brogan then almost teed up Marsh with a super ball into the box that was just beyond Marsh coming in at the back post before Brogan sent Lloyd Ellams on a run towards the goal. Ellams somehow emerged from a pair of challenges with the ball and knocked it beyond Remy Clerima, with both him and Marsh chasing the loose ball, and Jorg Stadelmann rooted to the spot like a rabbit in headlights, it was a question of which Celtic striker would score, not if, and it was Marsh who got there half a yard ahead of Ellams to slot the ball past Stadelmann.
Ellams almost got his goal from twenty yards hitting a shot on the turn, but it flashed just over the crossbar. Stadelmann was at full stretch to deny Connor Jenningsís blistering twenty-five yard effort, and was grateful to see Marshís precision shot speed past his upright and Greg Wilkinsonís twenty-five yard screamer fly over the bar as Celtic camped around the Histon box. Stadelmann had to save Marshís back post flicked header but it was a bread and butter catch.
Just before half time, it went from bad to worse for the visitors when Omer Riza went in with a late two footed tackle from behind on Jack Rea after the Celtic man had already laid the ball off. There was no doubt it was a red card, and that was what he got.
The second half was more of the same, with Histon dragging their feet at every opportunity as though they had the one goal lead, and with Celtic trying to find an opening. Marsh got one opening, breaking past the defence to go one-on-one but Stadelmann was up to it, palming away the instinctive drive. The Histon keeper followed it up with a top draw save from a Lloyd Ellams special, curling and dipping from the corner of the box. Chris Lynch was unlucky off the corner, stabbing his effort wide. Second later and it was another great save from Stadelmann to deny Marsh again in a one-on-one coming in at a diagonal.
Histonís mountain to climb became precipitous when David Livermore picked up a second yellow for dragging Connor Jennings down an inch from the box, reducing the visitors to nine men, and for complaining Stadelmann got a yellow, leaving him facing the prospect of a second sending off against Celtic. Jennings took the free kick, with a flying header from Fitzsimons steering the ball around the post. Such was Celticís dominance that Joel Bembo-Leta was allowed the freedom to get into the box and test Stadelmann, finding the Histon keeper well placed and too big to steer the ball around. McWilliams tried his luck with a curling effort that took a slight deflection steering it towards Histonís busiest player.
Wilkinson skied a free kick, and Marsh tried to curl a free kick only to see Clerima jump high enough to send it over the bar, and it looked like the Histon keeper would pull off an unlikely 1-0 scoreline until Connor Jennings surged past Zak Mills and pulled the ball to the near post for Marsh as the Celtic striker arrived in time to steer the ball past the helpless Stadelmann. Dan Holman tried a cheeky effort from the kick off, launching towards Celticís goal, but Jan Budtz could watch it from his deckchair, waving his margarita at the ball as it sailed a couple of yards wide.
This left the last five minutes comfortable for Celtic, and they patiently built up each time an attack broke on the two banks of four Histon were playing with.
Marsh was handed a great chance for a hat-trick with seconds on the clock after substitute Craig Hobson and Jennings had both gone close, a pull back for either of them would have given the game a more fair reflective score-line, but Marsh wanted the ball, and went for glory forcing Stadelmann into another great stop.
Celtic were not great, but Histonís negative approach play was never going to get them anything from the game after Celtic had taken an early lead.
|7||Taaffe, Lewis||> 78|
|11||Sparkes, Danny||> 63|
|12||Hawkins, Harri||< 63|
|15||Roberts, Grant||< 78|