Match Report -
Hairy moments, but a victory!
By Debbie Taylor

Celtic came into the match with a particularly long list of injuries. Eastwood was among them but fit enough to play, despite not looking his usual sparkling self.

Denham also started again, in place of the injured Potts, and it was he who got Celtic off to a cracking start. Celtic set out the game plan early on with plenty of work in midfield, that eventual resulted in Eastwood putting a defence splitting ball into the path of Denham. Denham went one-on-one with Boswell in the Bay nets, and blasted the ball past him from an acute angle. The shot beat the Bay keeper, but not the post, rebounding back into the six yard box. Denham reacted the quickest, to pounce onto the loose ball and slide it into the back of the net.

The stretched and squeezed Bay defence were struggling to cope with the balanced Celtic front line. Eastwood's predatory nature, Denham's lightning pace and Mayers' holding and spreading ability. It was Mayers who received the majority of attention from the battle-hardened Bay back-line, and it wasn't long before Glenn Graham tried to hack his calves, conceding a free kick in a dangerous area. Wharton's free kick was nothing special, but it was deflected for a corner. Andy Jones defended well, but Wharton's persistence won a second corner when his attempt to knock it back in struck Stannard. McIlvogue attempted to clear the corner, spooning it across the penalty box. Luckily for Colwyn, Denham slipped as he tried to race onto it.

Bowman felt the wrath of Andy Jones as he beat him to a loose ball. Wharton quickly spread the ball to Clegg, who put in a great ball to Mayers. A cushioned header to Denham allowed the lad to snap off a shot that only the outstretched leg of Moody denied him his second goal.

Denham kept on trying though, and kept in a hopeless looking ball, swinging it back to Mayers. A cushioned ball from Mayers set Eastwood up perfectly. He stepped between two defenders, and snapped off a shot, beating Boswell, but Alun Evans scrambled on the line and hoofed it clear.

Celtic were looking dangerous, and it took a last ditch tackle from Andy Jones to dispossess Eastwood after Wharton's well weighted ball set him off into the box. The corner came out to Bowman who tried to lay off Mayers, but there were far too many defenders, and Colwyn scrambled clear.

Eastwood then was found guilty of the miss of the match, when Denham's cross field ball was expertly brought down, excellently taken around Alun Evans and Glenn Graham, teed up to fake Boswell, before wellying it over the bar. He'd done the hard part, and Mayers was well positioned for a lay off.

It looked for a while like the miss may have proven costly, as Colwyn edged their way back into the game. A wonderful strike from distance by Stannard was too hot for Dootson to handle, and he spilled it right into the poaching path of Kissock. As German and Bowker through themselves into his path, there were shouts from Kissock for handball, but as Dootson emerged from the scrum holding the ball after capturing it on the line the referee waved Kissock's appeal away.

Celtic grabbed a couple of corners on the trot, the first when Alun Evans had to scramble Clegg's excellent ball into the box away. The ball out to German was whipped in for Eastwood, but Boswell flapped it clear as far as Mayers, who put it back out to Denham to lob back into the box, but the ball was inches too high for Eastwood. The second came when Denham was clumsily bundled over by Jason Jones, and Wharton's well worked free kick had to punched around the post by Boswell. Matty Evans headed that corner clear as far as Bowman, his instant shot (when he should have steadied himself) whistled well wide.

As the half ended, it was plainly obvious that Colwyn were by no means out of the match, and Celtic survived a couple of hairy moments. The first saw Stannard race clear of the defence, before unleashing a powerful shot that beat Dootson, and ricocheted back off the post for Bowker to hoof clear, and the second, with moments left on the clock was Wharton's mistake.

Eastwood was pushed unceremoniously off the ball near the centre circle, and Wharton's too hurried free kick to German saw McIlvogue latch onto it and race unimpeded up field. Dootson came out bravely and as McIlvogue tried to steer it around the Celtic number one, Dootson got enough on it to steer it for a corner that Colwyn wasted.

The second half saw a nippy, rejuvenated Bay emerge from the tunnel, knowing they were only 1 behind. Hooper conceded a corner blocking McIlvogue's crisp cross, and Robbie Williams headed the corner down, only to see Clegg clear it off the line.

However, Celtic soon stamped their authority back onto the game, with the introduction (however brief) of Potts. His first touch was a beautiful cross to the far post, which Denham followed in, and crashed into the side netting. Inexplicably, the linesman indicated that Denham was offside anyway.

Potts then limped off the field and was replaced by Barker. Total duration of Potts' contribution, four minutes.

Barker proved more than a handful for the back line, as Celtic were effectively playing with four up front!

Indeed, it was Barker's ball to Denham that saw the young striker flick the ball over Jason Jones, flick it over Glenn Graham's clumsy lunging challenge, do a couple of keepy-uppies before prodding it past the keeper to double Celtic's lead. With Eastwood and Mayers stood right behind Denham, any rebound had no chance of being cleared!

In a move reminiscent of the Ashton game a week earlier, Bowman conceded a free kick 35 yards out. Moody lifted the ball over the defensive wall into the path of Matty Evans, who volleyed expertly past Dootson. Celtic don't get caught twice in a row like that! Evans was offside by a good two yards.

Fitzgerald unlocked the Colwyn Bay defence with a simple throw-in, which he threw onto Eastwood's willing foot. The hitman turned and struck a sweat right foot shot that had top corner written all over it. Boswell had other ideas and pulled off a good save to deny Celtic's top scorer. The corner was too high for everybody in the box, but Bowker; even so, it was too high for his foot, and too low for his head - so he attempted to knee it into the back of the net - and wasn't that far away!

Wharton soon brought the ball back to the by-line for Celtic, and won a corner off Jason Jones. The quick corner went to Eastwood at the edge of the box. He skipped past Moody, he waltzed past Graham, and saw his shot blocked by a quickly recovering Moody.

But Eastwood would not be denied another goal in another game. Wharton and Eastwood bore down on net, shoulder to shoulder, but Wharton's shot when it came brought the best out of Boswell, putting it around the post for a corner. Only Denham kept it in, and slipped it back to Eastwood. Eastwood turned and shot from the corner of the box, this top corner shot went into the top corner, despite the attempt by Boswell to repeat his earlier save.

Celtic now march on in the President's cup, a trophy they last won two season's ago. Colwyn Bay put up a spirited fight, but were ultimately beaten by better finishing. Ashton, Runcorn and either Wakefield or Kidsgrove will make up the next round with Celtic.

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