Mulvaney got his first start for a while, and almost scored when he closed down a back-pass, the rebound from the goalkeeper clearing the bar by inches. Ellington won a corner that Keeling put his head on, seeing the goal-bound effort cleared off the line, and Steve Smith?s shot was also deflected. Smith got another chance off a Turley pull-back, which required a smart stop from Findlay in the Cheadle nets. Sykes was the next to test Findlay, trying to loop a header over him off a Turley cross, but the keeper was aware (and vocal), putting it over his bar. In full flight, Mulvaney was hacked down by Kempton and Keeling put the free kick just wide. A Ben Smith through ball freed Ellington, but his shot was right into the body of Findlay.
The amount of shots may sound like Celtic were all over Cheadle, but that wasn?t the case, Celtic were ambling through the game, and were quite lax, which allowed Flanaghan to find the ex-Celtic player Dean Martin with a looping cross at the corner of the box, and he made no mistake rifling the ball into the bottom corner in Cheadle?s only shot on target in the half.
Celtic continued in the same vein, confident that they would eventually get through without stepping up a gear. Ellington won a corner and Kempton had to block Mulvaney?s shot on the line. Ellington then freed Price with a diagonal ball; Price smacked it first time, forcing Findlay into another smart stop.
The half time team talk must have done the trick because Celtic came out one gear up. Sykes was moved up front in place of Mulvaney and Garvey was brought on to fill the midfield role. He could have scored with his first touch receiving the ball off Turley and scooping wide. He had to make do with his second touch, Turley whipping a low cross through the box, Sykes made a diving header count, putting Celtic level.
Brereton will rue the day he pulled down Steve Smith at the edge of the box, because Turley took a sublime free kick curling it over the wall and into the top corner to give Celtic the lead within moments of equalising. Steve Smith could have joined them on the score sheet as Celtic went into flamboyant mode, Sykes dummying Turley?s cross to allow Smith to strike a sweet ball narrowly over the bar.
Garvey was the next on the score sheet as Turley and Sykes interchanged before Turley rolled it to the unmarked Garvey. The strike was a perfect debutant goal, powerful and arrow straight with Findlay rooted to the spot. Celtic were passing through Cheadle at will now as fitness levels began to tell. Turley and Garvey linked up with the latter providing a reverse pass for the former, only to see Brooks lash the clearance almost into his own net. Celtic did get another when Ben Smith barged through the Cheadle defence like they weren?t there, smacked a fast paced cross through the box, Turley only had to put his head on it to direct it into the back of the net.
Garvey proved his first goal wasn?t a fluke when Field (on for Price) back-heeled into his path and he struck the sweetest shot seen for some time, bending past the stationary Findlay and into the net. And Celtic weren?t finished at five-one. Ben Smith again beat his markers and put another cross into the box, this time for Sykes to come in on and smash past the by-now beleaguered Findlay. With just a few minutes to go, Parr (on for Ellington) found Ben Smith at the edge of the box, and from an acute angle, Smith chose the shot curling it into the back of the net leaving Findlay completely demoralised.
The second half performance from Celtic was something to behold, Cheadle barely got out of their own half, and only had one real chance that just ensured Pettinger was awake. The midfield bossed the game and despite not having a recognised striker on the pitch Celtic found their make-shift forwards again and again carving up the home team, leaving the score-line a far more respectable 7-1.