Celtic scored four for the second time in the Manchester Premier Cup in a see-sawing game that saw both sides take the lead, and eventually, Celtic snatch it.
The opening quarter was mainly Celtic, with FC United looking a little tremulous after so many games without a win, and Steve Tames twice went close before breaking onto Aidan Chippendaleís cross field ball, bearing down on Dave Carnell, only at the last minute to pull off a beautiful squared ball into the path of Darius Osei who side footed home simply.
The lead didnít last long, when Greg Daniels got half a yard and curled in a magnificent cross, which just evaded Jack Higgins and John Shaw but didnít evade Craig Lindfield, who planted his head back across the face to equalise.
Celtic almost regained the lead immediately, when Jack Higgins came in at the back post during a goal mouth scramble, his poked effort coming back off the post, and scrambled clear. However, moments later, and Celtic did regain the lead, Osei looking a class above as he strode away from Greg Daniels and threaded a pass through the crowd to Steve Tames, who smashed home. That gap would have been doubled bit for a pair of great saves from Carnell, Alex Mudimuís effort stinging his palms and Darius Osei from close range blocked when Carnell made himself big.
FC United finished the half the stronger, with Cameron Murray and Greg Daniels both going close before Tom Brown pulled the ball back through a crowd, evading everybody, Celtic and United alike, but not Murray steaming into the edge of the box, and rifling into the top corner.
FC Unitedís third goal, just after the restart, was really well crafted, Rory Pattersonís curling ball behind the Celtic defence, it looked like Murray was going to latch onto it, but he left it to continue into the path of Matty Wolfenden with the Celtic defence flat-footed, with only McMillan to beat, Wolfenden did to give the home side the lead.
They should have increased that when Adam Thurston drove in from distance, but McMillan got strong palms on the shot, pushing it over the bar.
As the game went into the last period, Celtic took control and refused to let go. Chris Simmís early effort was a warning, and Bohan Dixon tested Carnell, whilst Steve Tames was completely unmarked at the back post, and cushioned Amour Lingoubaís inch perfect cross straight into the side netting. Tames was even more unlucky when his effort through a crowd was blocked on the line Ė but not quite all the way over it, by Tom Brown. Simm got into a good position one-on-one but fired across the face.
A goal looked likely, and it came from an absolutely sensational free kick from Aidan Chippendale that Matty Hughes met with a firm thumping header.
With ten minutes left, Chris Simm gave Celtic the narrowest of leads when Lingouba set him free and he bore down on Dave Carnell, maintaining the presence of mind to smash the ball home and with Celtic still in the ascendancy, a lead they held onto fairly comfortably to go into the semi-final.
|2||Thurston, Adam||> 54|
|4||Brown, Tom||> 68|
|8||Murray, Cameron||> 81|
|12||Brownhill, Liam||< 54|
|14||Fallon, Rory||< 68|
|16||Madeley, Sam||< 81|