Celtic progressed to their second consecutive final of the Manchester Premier Cup in Steve Burr’s first game in charge thanks to goals in each half from new signing Mathias Bakare and Gary Gee.
Salford started the more quickly, but young goalkeeper Callum O’Neill brought in to cover for the cup-tied Grant Shenton, was alert and pulled off a good stop down to his left to deny an early shot from Sam Walker who’d found the space at the edge of the box for a snap shot. As the game went on, Celtic grew in confidence and were putting together some good play, this culminated with a one-two between Porya Ahmadi and Mathias Bakare, with a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Bakare splitting the Salford defence and putting Bakare one-on-one with Jay Lynch. Bakare disguised his shot well, putting his shot through the legs of Lynch to give Celtic the lead on the half hour.
O’Neill kept Celtic’s lead until the interval with another great stop, this time flying to his left to deny John Johnston after the Salford winger had made a great run finishing with a curling shot.
Right at the start of the second half, there was nothing O’Neill could do to stop the equaliser. Danny Wisdom’s clearance from a free kick fell nicely for John Johnston standing just inside the box who met the falling ball perfectly lashing his volley into the far corner of the goal.
Danny Wilkins curled his hot over the bar, Aaron Chalmers nodded a corner wide and Kieran Dunbar dragged his shot wide as Celtic went looking to put themselves in front again. Twice Danny Wisdom made a marauding run down the wing against a tiring Craig King, on the second run, he cut inside and unleashed a low drive that Lynch did well to get down and block, the loose ball coming out to Gary Gee. It was an awkward ball to deal with, but Gee scrambled the ball out of his feet and slotted into the empty net.
Salford pressed, but the Celtic defence held firm. At the final whistle, the result was deserved. Bakare was a tireless revelation in the centre, the new keeper made an impressive debut, whilst every other player worked their socks off.
Celtic now go onto face FC United of Manchester at a venue and date to be confirmed.
|7||Haughton, Nick||> 78|
|9||Allen, Richie||> 85|
|10||Green, George||> 55|
|14||Hine, Josh||< 85|
|15||Poole, James||< 55|
|16||Hulme, Jordan||< 78|