Despite a first half goal from the hosts and a masterclass performance from North Ferriby keeper, Lewis Exall, a late goal from Matty Wolfenden sent the three points back down the M62 and lifted Celtic into the top five.
Celtic had the best of the early opportunities, but looked a little slow and flat, despite this, Chris Sharp’s rocket needed a stuck-out leg from Jack Mail to deny him the opener and Exall showed his class denying James Caton with an outstanding flying save. Shortly after losing Caton to a pulled hamstring, Celtic were forced into a substitution during a corner, a traditionally bad time to concede a corner.
Perhaps it would have been Caton’s job to pick up Mail as he curved into the near post to meet the near post corner, or somebody lost their man in the box, either way, a stooping header from the central defender beat James Aspinall opening the scoring at the start of a purple patch for the hosts.
Aspinall was alert and aware as the half wore on and had to be, denying Dan Norton with a stuck-out hand from close range, the loose ball falling to Luke Hinsley, though his shot was beyond Aspinall, still on the floor, Liam Tongue was back to hack clear off the line. Moments later and Kurt Bannister’s effort was palmed around the post by Aspinall. As the half approached, Celtic slowly started to exert their authority, with Matty Wolfenden denied by an incredible stop from Exall from Wolfenden’s close range header to leave the home side leading at the break.
North Ferriby started the second period at pace, almost catching Celtic off guard when Eddie Rogerson found some space for a shot, Aspinall helping the ball over the bar. Chris Sharp joined James Caton on the physio’s table, with George Hughes replacing him. Moments later and Celtic were level, Ross Dent finishing off a free kick from Tongue that had the Ferriby defence all at sea, Neil Kengni knocking the ball towards the penalty spot from the back post, and Dent’s header beyond the reach of Exall.
Exall continued to prove an immense obstacle for the rest of the half, Kengni’s powerful strike from fifteen yards superbly lifted over the bar when he had no rights to reach the shot, and again, this time at full stretch from Kengni to palm around the post. When he was beaten, Wolfenden saw his header hacked clear off the line and James Williamson nearly put his flicked header into the top corner of his own net as Celtic pressed and pressed. Dent produced another stunning close range stop from Exall from the corner, and again, this time denying Wolfenden.
Moments after rightly being named Man of the Match, Exall was undone when Wolfenden turned and shot from ten yards out, but didn’t connect particularly well. Exall’s dive and Paul Robson’s slide weren’t quite far enough to reach the effort, seeing it roll into the net in the bottom corner. After stopping half a dozen shots with incredible athletiscism, Exall was finally undone by a less than perfect Wolfenden strike in the dying moments of the game.