Match Report -
Celtic win the Frank Robinson Memorial Trophy
By Iain Benson
A much better performance by Celtic this year saw them lift the Frank Robinson Memorial Trophy without really exerting themselves too much. With a bit better finishing the score line could have been even more comfortable.

In the opening minute, Stringfellow put a low cross to the back post for Hall coming in, but he sliced it wide of the post. Hall then put the ball wide of the other post after receiving Ellington?s inch perfect pull back. It was Oakes who first tested the keeper; Stringfellow?s looping cross met on the half-volley by Oakes, but straight at Ashley Connor in the Mossley nets. Oakes was then unlucky when he took Ellington?s through ball in his stride, only for his shot to take a deflection off Garvey and loop over the keeper and come back off the cross bar into Connor?s grateful arms.

Barwick put a good ball into the box, Ellington drew two defenders, and Stringfellow opened the scoring curling the ball around Ellington and his markers and into the bottom corner past the unsighted Connor. Hall nearly doubled the lead when Ellington slid the ball into his path and only a great stop at close range by Connor denied Hall. Hall then managed to hold off two defenders long enough for Stringfellow to come into the box, Hall provided him with a good ball, but under pressure from Royle, Stringfellow screwed his ball wide.

Hall was brought down by Noble; Oakes took the free kick floating it to the back post, where Hall headed narrowly over the bar. Ellington brought down Barwick?s cross to Hall who was extremely well tackled by Garvey the ball falling loose to Oakes who struck a sweet strike well beyond Connor?s reach.

Mossley responded with a sweeping move, their best move of the match that left the Celtic defence split and Gayle with only trialist Furnival to beat. Gayle?s first touch gave him the space and he fired a powerful shot to the top corner. Gamble got a hand to the ball, but not enough to keep it out. Celtic could have restored their two goal cushion immediately when Hall brought down Oakes?s cross superbly well only for Royle to slide straight through the back of Hall on the penalty spot. There was only going to be one outcome and the only decision was whether it would be Ellington or Hall to take the penalty. Ellington took it and Connor pulled off a sensational one-handed save to keep the difference down to one goal.

Mossley got a chance at the start of the second half when Sykes was adjudged to have bundled over Noble just outside the box. Noble took the free kick well, but Pearson was well positioned to catch simply. Burbeary put a lovely cross into the back post for trialist Greaves to nod home, but he put too much on it, nodding it wide. Greaves really should have scored when a neat overlapping move saw Kay curl a fine cross into the box, but Greaves?s header forced Mossley?s substitute keeper and ex-Celtic reserve Lewis, into a one handed reaction save. Greaves then tried his luck from distance, but Lewis again denied him, fumbling the ball around the post. Another overlapping run and cross from Kay was met on the volley by Barlow, it had Mossley?s third keeper beaten, but Crossley was on the line to block and clear for a corner. From the corner, Sykes got his head on the ball, looping it over the keeper, and into the net to restore Celtic?s two goal cushion.

Barlow and Burbeary interchanged, the latter striking a powerful drive that was well saved by Taylor. Barlow then received the ball off Burbeary, pulled Taylor out wide and gave the ball to Greaves. Greaves had rather too much time, and when his shot finally came, it struck Taylor?s legs. Oakes cut inside and touched the ball off to Barlow who smacked it goal bound, only for Taylor to produce a fine one handed save. Burbeary lifted the ball over the static Mossley defence, Barlow raced in and tried to cheekily nutmeg Taylor, but Taylor reacted well and made the block. Burbeary then tried to chip Taylor who was well of his line, but the little lad had a great spring and pulled off another one handed block. The corner eventually came to Greaves who headed over.

Celtic rounded the match off with a fast paced move that kept the ball out of the reach of Mossley?s players, Burbeary sliding the ball into the box, a beautiful dummy from Oakes wrong-footed the defence and it took another good save from Taylor to deny a powerful strike from Barlow.

All in all, it was a good workout for the new look Celtic side that only had five trialists in it as the squad emerges from the melee.

Celtic: Paddy Gamble; Steve Payne; Andy Smart; James Dudgeon; Terry Barwick; Gary Furnival; Michael Stringfellow; Sean Beelley; Chris Hall; Lee Ellington; Adam Oakes
Half time subs: Tom Greaves; Martin Pearson; Paul Sykes; Ryan Laight; Jamie Kay; Ashley Burbeary; Matty Barlow

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