Celtic are still in the hat for the next round after hanging on at the end of a thrilling match.
The home side struck first after Craig Hobson went close at one end, one-one-one with the keeper and mishitting his shot, allowing a relieved Matt Glennon to scoop up the ball and send County on a counter attack that saw Jon Routledge reach the by-line and pull the ball across the face with pace and accuracy to striker partner Tom Eilliot, who side footed the ball home, with Jan Budtz unable to do anything about it. It was Stockport’s first goal for quite a while, and it buoyed the home side. They attacked with precision, and Celtic had Jan Budtz to thank for an excellent save off Tom Elliot’s effort.
Hobson was put through again one-on-one with Glennon by a perfect ball form Rea, this time his control was spot-on and it took a great save to deny Hobson this time. The game was swapping ends with both sides playing some good football, but it was Celtic that were slowly controlling the game. And Celtic regained their way in the match when Connor Jennings saw Glennon of his line and fired in an absolutely stunning lob that flew over Glennon and into the top corner.
Hobson got chance three moments later with a great ball from Jennings, but Andy Halls threw himself in the way and Celtic couldn’t convert the corner, but just when Stockport thought they’d got it clear, Andy McWlliams was pounding down the wing, a ball inside to Hobson, and in one movement, Hobson fired towards the far post, where Jennings popped up and diverted the ball past Glennon to give Celtic a deserved half time lead.
Stockport made a couple of changes before the start of the second half and changed formation. They came out all guns blazing. Substitute Danny Rowe was allowed the freedom to keep coming down the wing. After finding enough space to fire in a cross, Sean McConville collected the ball on his chest in a congested area, swivelled and shot into the top corner to equalise.
Moments later and Elliot beat the offside trap, Rhys Meynell chased back and as Elliot was about to pull the trigger, Meynell slid in to take the ball, missed and caught Elliot. No question it was a penalty. The only question was what the punishment would be meted out, and it was a straight red for Meynell. McConville stepped up to take the penalty. Budtz became the hero of the hour when he guessed right and blocked incoming penalty. Budtz showed his class when he then pulled off an incredible save as Elliot got to the rebound first and Budtz acrobatically palmed the ball over the bar.
Down to ten men, Celtic reorganised, Phil Marsh was brought on for Lloyd Ellams. Within minutes of coming on Marsh was put in one-on-one by Connor Jennings but Gannon pulled off the save that earned him man of the match. But the extra man was beginning to tell. Stockport, like Celtic, are full time, and Celtic’s extra fitness wasn’t a factor in this match, with Stockport pressing and pressing Celtic further back towards their own net, Stockport were looking the more likely to score, with Budtz required to produce another good stop to deny McConville as the game headed towards stoppage time. Celtic struggled to clear the corner, with Bembo-Leta slicing a clearance narrowly past his own post. With only minutes remaining, and Celtic having run themselves into the ground, and Jim Harvey made the difficult decision to take Marsh off, and bring on Mitchell Austin to shore up the midfield for the last few minutes, and it did the trick, and Celtic got through to the ninetieth minute and forced a replay on Tuesday night.
|4||ODonnell, Danny||> 88|
|7||Routledge, Jon||> 45|
|8||German, Antonio||> 45|
|14||Piergianni, Carl||< 45|
|15||Rowe, Danny||< 45|
|16||Cole, Aaron||< 88|