A single wind assisted goal was enough to ensure that Celtic lost their second successive Manchester Premier Cup match, despite matching FC United throughout the game.
The goal came in the third minute, when Jake Williams’s overlapping run got him into a crossing position, which he duly did as Adam Mather closed him down. The arcing cross described a curling arc over stand-in keeper Callum O’Neil and into the far corner. Williams may try to claim it was intentional, but with his intended targets arriving at the back post, the wind had a definite impact on the ball’s trajectory.
James Roberts and Danny Wilkins both showed good speed to get into shooting positions in the hunt for the equaliser, with both firing over throughout a half when neither keeper was called into any significant action, the closest Celtic coming to scoring when a well worked free kick routine saw Kieran Dunbar’s lofted ball headed by Aaron Chalmers, but he couldn’t keep it on target, the ball falling at an awkward height for Wilkins, who knocked it wide.
A similar free kick was seen at the start of the second half, this time, Chalmers getting his header in the right direction, but narrowly clearing the bar. At the other end, Timy Adeloyi was given two chances to score, but was denied one-on-one by a cracking stop from the young Oldham keeper standing in for the cup-tied Grant Shenton. The ball came back to Adeloyi, but Chalmers had got back to slide in and block the shot at the expense of a corner.
Knowing an equaliser would force penalties, in the last ten minutes, Celtic pressed hard, but both Roberts and Dunbar failed to seriously test Ryan Schofield, Dunbar at the end of a move involving most of the team, but rolling it to the bottom corner for Schofield to smother. A Danny Morton cross was whisked off Gary Gee’s head by Luke Ashworth when he looked certain to score, and Morton went himself but George Thomson got back to lift the ball over the bar for a corner.
With Celtic committed, Matt Regan showed great speed after ninety minutes of running. At one end, he headed into Schofield’s arm from a corner, and then raced back to position to deny Thomson at the other end when FC United broke, sliding in to knock the ball from his feet inside the box when Thomson thought he was through. Thomson again got one-on-one with O’Neill, and a good initial block came back to the FC Untied striker, but Mathias Bakare was back to clear the ball as it almost crossed the line. And right at the death, with the whole of the Celtic team committed for a last second Celtic corner, Chris Chantler cleared the corner, racing after the clearance himself, charging the full length of the field, with only O’Neill between him and an underserved score-line. O’Neill stood up well and Chantler was denied by a cracking stop by the youngster.
So Celtic finish the season relegated and without silverware and it is time to rebuild for next season’s new adventure.
|7||Wolfenden, Matthew||> 88|
|9||Adeloyi, Tomi||> 67|
|11||Thomson, George||> 86|
|12||Sheridan, Sam||< 88|
|14||Greaves, Tom||< 67|
|16||Brown, Tom||< 86|