Celtic came back from a goal down to record a comprehensive victory over Hednesford in a game of changeable conditions.
Although Hednesford had a couple of early chances they did not really make the most of them, and Matty Hughes likewise squandered a good chance from a corner, poking his effort across the face of goal and out.
The breakthrough came for the visitors in slightly controversial style, a mad scramble in the box, a Hednesford player going down, and a ricocheting ball finally coming to Tom Peers via an offside Ben Bailey who had just enough power on his shot for it to creep in near the post. The Celtic back line were looking to the assistant, but his flag had stayed down, presumably having lost track of who was wear in the confusion.
Dale Wright's back flicked header and low driven shot that went into the side netting after a reasonable build up, were the only two real chances Celtic could carve as they struggled to get going. That is, right up until the end of the half, with seconds left on the clock, Steve Tames and new signing Danny Burns went racing up the field with the visitor's defence back pedalling. Tames could have gone alone, but instead laid off the perfect ball for Burns to latch onto. He turned inside his man, and with defence and attack both arriving, took the shot himself, curling it past Dan Crane, and though Tyrone Williams got back to try and clear off the line, the ball was already in the back off the net.
The second half saw the rain come down and the wind pick up for a while. The wind wasn't the only thing that picked up, with Celtic also picking up the tempo. Right after the restart, Steve Tames and Adam Farrell interchanged superbly, before laying off the ball to Dale Wright leaving him one-on-one with Crane. The Celtic man smashed his shot over Crane and into the net via the crossbar.
Chances came for both sides, Tom Peers could have added to his tally and equalised with a fierce drive from the edge of the box that John Shaw got a leg to, lifting it onto the crossbar and away to safety. Bohan Dixon was having a great game, and tried his luck with a shot from thirty yards that was too hot for Crane to hold, the ball rebounding to Steve Tames, forcing Crane into making a point blank block to deny the striker.
Dixon then turned provider, after skipping past his marker, he curled in an inch perfect cross, right through the danger area, to where Farrell was arriving, leaving Farrell to cushion his header into the back of the net.
Hednesford really should have pulled one back moments after the goal, Ahmed Obeng got past Oliver Crowley enough to fire a low shot that Tony McMillan could only push away, the ball falling to Kyle Perry, with a gaping net in front of him, he shot wide.
And so Celtic increased the gap to leave the last few minutes much more comfortable than many games of late. A corner only half cleared was put back in the mixer by Dixon, where Chris Simm and Dale Wright combined to feed the ball to John Shaw. The centre back looked like a centre forward as he adjusted his feet and chipped the ball over Crane.
Aidan Chippendale nearly made it five, his shot inches the wrong side of the post, before Hednesford got something of a consolation goal, in sloppy fashion. A free kick curled in, and Ben Bailey was there to head home.
The second half performance was much better from Celtic, giving hope for the remainder of the season.
|2||Disney, John||> 52|
|3||Regan, Matt||> 72|
|10||Ennis, Paul||> 60|
|14||James, Tom||< 72|
|16||Thomas, Adam||< 52|
|17||Obeng, Ahmed||< 60|