Match Report -
Great Performance
By Iain Benson

Results don't matter in pre-season friendlies, but it would have been a travesty had Celtic lost this one, more than matching the visitors throughout the ninety minutes, and two goals apiece wasn't an unfair result.

Southport started the stronger of the two teams, with Richard Brodie influential for Southport, seeing his early shot on the turn saved well by Lewis King, and Celtic defended well under pressure from Micah Evans to get the ball clear. Ex-Celt, Steve Brogam was unlucky not to his see his dipping distance shot go in, as it cleared King, and rebounded off the bar. Brodie saw his shot blocked on route to goal by Matty Hughes, the loose ball coming out to Joe Conner, who shot wide.

Celtic weathered the storm, and came back strongly, some good interchange play between Liam Dickinson and Charlie Ennis to give Ennis half a yard for a superb distance Volley that flew past Danny Lloyd Weston's finger tips and put Celtic a goal up. Aidan Chippendale, fresh from signing terms, fired Ben McKenna's cross narrowly wide of the mark whilst at the other end, a superb reaction save from King denied Micah Evans at close range. Ennis again went close just before the break, firing low and hard across and out past the far post.

The second half was very even, Celtic starting brightly, and Chippendale squirming through, cutting inside, and unleashing a super curling shot that narrowly went wide past the upright, before Southport caught Celtic on a quick counter, moving the ball rapidly upfield, and Southport trialist, let's call him Mick Sterbs, latched onto the final ball to go one-on-one with King, and showed great composure to fire in the narrowest of gaps beyond King and in at the far post to equalise for the visitors.

Luke George could have put Southport in front when he showed a good first touch to gain half a yard, but fired wide of the mark, whilst Mick Sterbs volleyed over from twenty yards out.

So it was Celtic who found the net next, with a great move that saw Chippendale fire a forty yard cross-field ball from one corner flag to the other and leave Southport all at sea as Ben McKenna cut inside the full back and fired a curling shot past substitute Southport keeper, Scott Kay.

The advantage didn't stay in Celtic's favour long, with a floated in free kick, and the very tall Danny Hattersley out-jumping everybody to flick his header beyond the reach of King, equalising for the Sandgrounders.

It was a case of missed chances by both sides to snatch the game in the last ten minutes, Luke Foster almost rolling the ball back to Lewis King for a simple save, Mick Sterbs put a great header from a good right wing cross just over the bar, and Charlie Joyce curling his corner of the box shot narrowly wide with King leaping for it. Right at the death, a great piece of football saw McKenner and Ennis interchange, putting Ennis half a yard ahead of the fullback where he tried a cheeky curler from twenty-five yards that curled only into the side netting, leaving the scoreline evens.

Celtic from: Lewis King, Oliver Crowley, Nathan Heath, Matty Hughes, Matt Regan, Sam Staunton-Turner, Aidan Chippendale, Matty Mainwaring, Ben McKenna, Paul Ennis, Liam Dickinson, James Cadman, Alex Mudimu, Kelvin Bleau, George Lomax, Anthony Windle, Olly Martin.
Southport from: Danny Lloyd Weston, Matty Challinor, Johnny Lynch, Dom Collins, Joe Connor, Steve Brogan, Luke George, Charlie Joyce, Micah Evans, Richard Brodie, Mick Sterbs, Danny Hattersley, Paul Ruthors, Dave Fitzpatrick, Andy Mitchell, Luke Foster, Scott Kay.

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