Match Report -
Celtic through to the final after extra time
By Mike Tilly
After their heroic game against Stockport only two days earlier, there were many changes to the Celtic line up as they took on Unibond First division title chasers in a game that went all the way and beyond.

Celtic looked set for another cricket scoreline as débutante Mark Crossland snapped in a spilled ball after the Motor's keeper came to claim a Scott corner, and spilled it. Celtic dominated the first half, but were unable to find the net, with Parr and McNeil getting the closest, both hitting the woodwork, but truly, neither keeper was seriously overworked.

As the half came to a close, Vauxhall were getting on top of things, and starting to go at Celtic with the desire that has seen them rise up the first division table. In the second half, it was the motormen who came on the strongest, looking dangerous around the box. The Celtic back four were strong enough to weather most of the storms, but there was a touch of inevitability, as Fish failed to connect as he came for a cross, allowing Lacy to steal in behind Williamson and slip the ball into the back of the net.

After that Celtic found another gear from somewhere, but the regular players looked jaded after their monumentous victory on Monday against Stockport. Wilson made a couple of changes to freshen the play up, but it was Vauxhall who were making the running, sensing that Celtic could fall twice in succession at home if they pressed.

The Vauxhall contingent must have felt their night was here, when Lacy stormed in to grab his second, only to see it disallowed for offside. However, as there was barely half a dozen travelling fans, the referee probably could not hear their complaints.

The best defence in the league have seen off tougher opposition that Motors though, and they were not about to let the same mistake happen again. They weathered further attacks, but found it difficult to get the ball up to the right end of the pitch, and when they did, finding the back net proved impossible. Jones had possibly two good chances, with the keeper and the woodwork denying him and both teams an early bath.

The small crowd huddled together against the strong wind, not really caring who scored as long as they could go home, but the full time whistle came, leaving Celtic on the ropes.

Not for the first time though, Phil Wilson has shown his leadership quality, and he gave his players a stern talking to in the few minutes interval. There was some slight reorganisation, and this proved effective, as Parr's cross was met by Jones, who's low drive left the Motor's keeper with no chance.

With only five minutes of extra time played, Celtic had to suffer more pressure from the visitors. However, with full time well up, the Motormen were feeling their stamina wither, stopping mid run with cramp, and lacking the drive they had shown in the second half. This gave Celtic the edge they needed to see off any threats to Fish's goal.

Although this was not the best of Celtic, it puts the Bower Boys into their second final of the campaign, against Blyth Spartans. This means that Celtic will play the northern team three times in April.

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