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Match Report -
Sub anyone?
By Debbie Taylor

Although the first half was played without a substitution, the second half saw five new faces in each team, and Celtic made a further three during the half.

The Celtic line up is beginning to show a lot of promise, and Trafford's chances were kept to a minimum whilst Celtic countered well and swept up field with impressive speed.

Celtic showed a lot of promise with Peacock providing the first opening with an acrobatic scissor kick that deflected off a Trafford player, though a goal kick was given.

As the defence begins to gel into a cohesive unit, Trafford almost broke through, and won a free kick for their efforts ten minutes in. Ingham was alert as Chris Patterson swung in a wicked curler. Trafford tried to maintain this pressure, and were unlucky when Wilkinson (easily their best player) struck the crossbar with a resounding thwack. However, they seemed to lose their impetus after this, and Celtic were given the run of the ball.

Peacock got into another good position, digging the ball from between two defenders to square it to Ashley Fickling, but Molyneaux got down well to smother the ball. Molyneaux was again the hero tipping Andy Scott's dipping shot past the post, but Celtic could not capitalise on the corner.

Peacock looked like he would be forever stymied as he did all the hard work beating two defenders and the keeper, but his narrow angled shot struck the post.

Molyneaux proved his bravery a second time, on this occasion smothering the ball at Peacock's feet after Pickford put him through (both Syd and Kev looked nicely tanned after their holidays).

A Scott blinder of a cross put Perkins onto a sure fire winner, but the ball skimmed the grass and clipped the wrong side of the post. Celtic were creating the chances, but the Trafford net looked charmed.

For a brief spell, Celtic lost the plot, and allowed Trafford back into the game, almost as if to prove that they had been outplaying the Unibond side. It took an excellent reaction dive from Ingham to stop Wilkinson from opening the Trafford account.

Fickling then had to make an important tackle inside the Celtic penalty area to deny Wilkinson's second attempt after the corner had been cleared.

With this moral booster, Celtic notched up the gears, and pressed into attack, with both Ward and Scott providing the crosses. The two combined towards the end of the half, with Ward providing Scott a peach, but Scotty blazed over.

The fans of a Celtic persuasion choked back a cheer as Peacock rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home. Somehow Cooley got back to the goal line and cleared the ball before it was completely in the net. Peacock held his head in disbelief.

To close the half, Ingham snatched the ball at Wilkinson's feet, getting a knock in the process. As it was all change at the half time whistle, he did not seem unduly bothered.

At he start of the second half, McNeil, Steele, Ged Murphy, Ian Richards and David Fish came on, replacing Perkins, Evans, Scott, Wood and Ingham in some order.

The team just carried on as usual.

The reward came just two minutes in as Courtney found himself on the end of a good cross field ball from Murphy, which he volleyed expertly into the back of the net.

It was all one way traffic after this, with Trafford forced into their own half. Peacock forced a good save as he cut inside and let loose a thunderous shot, and several times the chances were there, but that final last touch was lacking. Steele got the closest with his one man trick show making enough space to let off a shot, but he missed.

Trafford's only real effort of the half (apart from punts up field that failed to find a white shirt) saw Wilkinson head diagonally across the box, almost beating Fish, but David recovered from his initial palm to snatch it before the impressive striker could nick one.

Celtic changed formation several times, bringing on Scott (!) for Courtney, Parr for Pickord and Graham for Fickling. But none of the changes impacted on Celtic's comfortable performance.

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