A deflected goal stood between Celtic exiting the cup and taking Radcliffe back to Bower Fold. A deflected goal and an inability to score.
Celtic got chances in the match, including in the opening moments when Chris Sharp’s bullet header was tipped over the bar by Ollie Martin. With Jake Turner out for up to six weeks with a broken wrist, Celtic have loaned another Bolton Wanderers keeper, James Aspinall, as cover. It was quarter of an hour before any kind of test came his way, a simple catch from Ben Wharton’s header off a free kick, but it triggered a period of intense pressure from Radcliffe, with a series of corners Celtic could not clear properly. Although the Celtic defence were restricting the home side’s chances, Tunde Owolabi still got a dangerous shot across the face and fired into Aspinall’s waiting arms.
It was during this period Radcliffe scored; a free kick from Scott Metcalf, a miscued header from Ben Wharton and a wicked deflection to take the ball past Aspinall. They all count and Ben Wharton has continued his fine run of scoring in every game this season.
Either side of the interval, Steve Irwin had decent chances, before the break, turning and firing low from the edge of the box straight at the keeper; after the break he fired tried to lob Martin when one-on-one, but put his effort over the bar from the edge of the box. Apart from a cracking stop from Aspinall to deny Owolabi’s curling effort, it was mainly one-way traffic in the second half, down the slope attacking the home side. But a failure to hit the target cost Celtic dearly. Irwin turned a low cross wide, from a corner it looked like Michael Clarke couldn’t miss, after bringing down Irwin’s corner at the back post; there were defenders on the line, but Clarke was a yard out. He smashed his shot the wrong side of the post.
Scott Bakkor headed a free kick over the crossbar by mere millimetres and Chris Sharp finished Celtic’s chances as they had begun, forcing Martin into a decent stop, dumping Celtic out of the cup.
With Whitby also exiting the cup, losing 1-0 in stoppage time to Whitely Bay, Celtic now travel to Whitby on Tuesday, with both sides concentrating on the league.
|7||Owolabi, Tunde||> 83|
|10||West, George||> 56|
|11||Rokka, Elliot||> 71|
|15||Wood, Liam||< 71|
|16||Payne, Shelton||< 83|
|17||Correia, Paul||< 56|
|4||Irwin, Steven||> 76|
|7||Wall, Luke||> 60|
|11||Flint, Niall||> 60|
|12||Bakkor, Scott||< 60|
|14||Dent, Ross||< 60|
|15||Kengni, Neil||< 76|