In the opening few minutes Celtic were all over Redditch and it was no surprise when Ellington danced through the defence, saw Roca in plenty of space, and gave him the ball. Roca was at the corner of the six yard box, he had all the time in the world to bring the ball down on his chest, pick his spot in the bottom corner and fire in a shot that Lewis in the home nets could only watch as it zipped past him.
Redditch had a couple of chances to equalise when Downes forced a corner out of Haran, but Haran headed for a second corner that Gamble caught comfortably. Heggs then got beyond Haran and Dudgeon to fire in a low shot that Gamble couldn?t reach and the ball thudded against the inside of the post and was cleared by Haran.
It was a wake up call by Celtic and they upped the tempo, Hall pulling the ball back for Sykes who forced a great save out of Lewis. Roca then wriggled past his marker took the ball to the edge of the box and tried a left foot shot that lacked the power to trouble Lewis. Roca was brought down twenty yards out, Haran came up for the free kick, and was still up when Redditch only half cleared as far as Hall who lifted the ball back to Haran. Haran controlled well and lifted the ball back to the penalty spot; Barlow was there to loft a header over Lewis and into the back of the net to double Celtic?s lead.
Hall got a chance to increase the lead as Celtic dominated possession. Barlow lifted the ball over the defence, Hall outpaced Geohaghon but his shot was screwed wide of the goal. Roca expertly brought down Sykes?s cross and took a snap shot that was deflected by Rea over his own cross bar for a corner that Celtic couldn?t convert leaving the half time score at 2-0.
Straight off the kick off Softley sliced down Roca before the diminutive winger could leave the centre circle and he got a booking. From the free kick, Barlow?s flicked header was only just wide. Garner?s diagonal ball was lifted straight across to Hall by Barlow, a little flick beat Lewis who was relieved to see the ball trundle narrowly wide.
Some decent build up play from Redditch took advantage of Keeling missing the tackle out wide but Heggs shot wide and high. Garner then conceded a corner which Haran put out for a second corner. Gamble palmed the ball away from Heggs, and as the ball dropped Sykes hacked it clear. An Haran conceded corner was knocked to the back post where Edwards was steaming in, but Gamble smothered at the second attempt.
Burberry was brought on for Barlow and was straight into the action, interchanging with Garner on the wing; Burberry put the ball into Ellington?s stride. Ellington took a fantastic shot and only an outstanding save from Lewis denied him. Redditch then cleared off the line twice in rapid succession. A Burberry free kick was over Lewis to Hall who tried to slip the ball in at the far post, but Downes sliced a clearance off the line as far as Davies who lifted the ball back in and Downes was there again to head clear as far as Sykes, but his ball back in was behind for a goal kick.
Keeling conceded a corner right at the death and with Redditch committed up front when Keeling?s clearance found Burberry Redditch were suddenly short at the back. Geohaghon got back well but a nutmeg from Burberry?s low cross came to Sykes who struck a sweet shot that rose only just over the bar.
Deep into stoppage time, Redditch could have pulled one back through the towering Geohaghon. Dudgeon fouled Downes just outside the box, the free kick floated to the near post saw Gamble react well to a close range header and clutch the ball to his chest. Moments later, an Haran foul just outside the box was floated across to Markman who had a glorious chance to pull one back but rather than use his head, he tried to push it with his hands into the net, and missed the target, getting a booking for his deliberate handball.
Despite numerous mistakes by both defences, Redditch never looked like getting into the game, and Celtic narrow the gap on the play off spots.