Krief got the first effort in at the start of the match, trying a distance shot. With the swirling wind it was a good idea, but the ball was forced wide. Hume too, tried a shot from the edge of the box, and he too was wide, though his shot was a lot closer. Ellington and Hume combined well midway into the first half, with Hume seeing an overlapping run by Brodie. Brodie took the ball into his stride and unleashed a powerful shot. Lamb in the Leigh nets got a full bloodied contact on the ball, knocking it into the air where the wind grabbed hold of it and forced it under the crossbar for the opening goal.
Simm went for the instant reply latching onto a ball left by Sykes, Foster and Keeling for each other. However his shot didn?t trouble Pettinger as it zipped wide of the mark. Porter did force Pettinger into action when he got contact on a long throw, but his header lacked the power to stretch Pettinger.
Sykes could have doubled Celtic?s lead when Ellington found him cutting in from the wing with an excellent nod down, Sykes took the shot first time and it was only narrowly over the angle. Instead it was Ellington who doubled the lead when Briscoe was forced to concede a corner under pressure from Sykes. The ball curled over the defence to the back post where Ellington was ready and able to tap the ball into the net. Just before half time and another corner was curled in, it was cleared as far as Brodie who smashed a thunderous shot towards goal only for Lamb to pull of a spectacular save.
At the start of the second half Ellington was unlucky not to double his tally when Winn?s free kick found him unmarked coming into the box, but his header crashed back off the bar. Brodie got onto the rebound, but Porter was on the line to clear with Lamb well beaten. Maxfield overlapped Sykes and put in a first time cross that stranded the defence, but Hume?s header lacked the power to trouble Lamb.
Hume was not to be denied and pulled of a contender for goal of the season. Winn?s lofted ball over the top held up nicely for Hume who beat Maddox with his first touch and from twenty-five yards fired off a curling dipping half volley that no keeper could have got anywhere near to give Celtic a deserved and comfortable three goal lead.
Celtic were enjoying themselves now, and Ellington tried to battle his way through three Leigh defenders who tugged and pulled, pushed and knocked him about, but still he kept control of the ball and managed to fire off a shot that was only just wide of the upright.
After Simm was caught off side, the referee waved play on as Celtic had the ball, but Celtic didn?t clear it, and still in an offside position when Settle pushed the ball between Foster and Keeling, Simm was one-on-one with Pettinger and he made no mistake, despite the protestations of the Celtic defence.
Substitute Taylor nearly reduced the deficit further when he found some space twenty yards out, but Pettinger was up to the shot and made a good stop down to his left. Leigh must have sensed an upset could be on the cards and were playing much better with some flowing football. When Taylor put the ball into the path of Simm, Keeling did very well to catch him and put him off enough to screw his shot wide into the side netting.
The victory was marred in stoppage time. Ellington got free in the box, and Briscoe wrapped his legs around Ellington?s legs bringing Celtic?s top scorer down in a crashing heap, Briscoe had no hope of reaching the ball and only had eyes for bringing Ellington down. However, the referee saw nothing wrong with this blatant penalty appeal, and waved play on. This is the third blatant penalty that Celtic have been denied in the last four matches. When Ellington challenged the referee as to why it wasn?t a penalty, the referee took out a red card and flashed it at the good-natured Ellington that incensed the travelling support. Ellington is not the kind of player who would use foul and abusive language, so the card had to be for dissent at the referee?s incorrect decision.
That decision could cost Celtic dear in upcoming matches, and he will be banned for the trip to Alfreton and the home game against Hinckley. Was Ellington right to challenge the referee for a bad decision in stoppage time? Possibly not, but it was still a harsh sending off for a player that felt seriously aggrieved at a terrible and dangerous foul that the referee had ignored.