Celtic’s Trophy journey ended in a bitterly cold Croft Park, with Blyth coming from behind with two goals late on to go through to the next round.
The first half saw Celtic have the first of the real chances, with Jakes Charles forcing Shaun McDonald into a sharp stop, pushing the low shot around his near post. After David McTiernan headed over, Theo Bailey-Jones had his effort on the run deflected over the bar. Action switched to the other end, and a speculative shot from Greg Rutherford was creeping in the far post, but Joe Slinn got all the way across to deny Rutherford. A big decision was made on the half hour, when Jarrett Rivers barrelled into Liam Dickinson the box from a corner, sending Dickinson flying. The decision was no penalty, much to the surprise of most of the ground. Connor Hughes almost made it irrelevant when his blasted shot crashed against the post and out again.
The second half saw Blyth start well, pushing Celtic back. It required some good defending to keep Blyth at bay. Jordan Watson’s effort was wide of the mark and McTiernan fired over from a corner. Dale Hopson’s first touch of the ball after coming on was to take a free kick, which was well struck but straight at Joe Slinn.
With twenty minutes remaining, Hughes was almost denied by Danny Burns, but Ryan Hutchinson and Burns got in each other’s way, with Shaun McDonald off his line, Hughes nipped in and rolled the ball into the back of the net for the equaliser.
It should have been a two goal cushion when Lamin Colley’s header was top corner bound, only to hit Liam Dickinson and loop over the bar.
The hosts had been having the better of the second half though, giving the Celtic back line no time to relax and under constant pressure. Three times they lobbed the ball into the box with Celtic struggling to get it clear until Alex Honeyball finally relieved the pressure a little, putting the ball out for a corner. However, Sean Reid was allowed to come in to meet the corner at the near post, nodding in the equaliser.
With thoughts of a Tuesday night replay creeping into people’s minds, Blyth continued to press looking for a winner. Slinn did well to deny Sean Reid a second, but just couldn’t reach a worthy match winning goal from Jordan Watson the full back, curling a powerful shot from twenty yards in off the post.
With only minutes left on the clock, Blyth successfully closed the game out, despite increased Celtic pressure. Connor Hughes and Lamin Colley linked up and almost grabbed an equaliser with two minutes to go, but Shaun McDonald bravely smothered the ball at Colley’s feet, condemning Celtic to a long journey home.
|2||Cartwright, Andrew||> 77|
|4||McTiernan, David||> 62|
|9||Wrightson, Adam||> 62|
|14||Reid, Sean||< 62|
|15||Buddle, Nathan||< 77|
|16||Hopson, Dale||< 62|