After going behind, Alfreton got physical and the game became very scrappy, but as the half wore on chances started to come. Law forced Gamble into a routine stop before Dean tested Matthewson with a curling effort from the edge of the box that had the Reds keeper leaping across his goal face. There was no let up for the visiting custodian, with Celtic players lining up to take a shot as Celtic threaded the ball around in front of the box until a looping cross from Torpey found the head of Hall, but he directed it too close to Matthewson. The blue wave kept coming, and Meechan darted in from the corner of the box, and with the defence holding back from him he snapped off a shot that Matthewson did well to gather up.
Right before half time, another sweet set of one touch passing culminated in a threaded ball from Torpey into the path of Winn who smashed a shot that curled in every imaginable direction before striking the back of the net with Matthewson unable to reach it.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Celtic wasted no time in getting going again. Torpey was freed by a clever Smart ball and from just three steps into the Alfreton half, he saw Matthewson at the edge of his area and fired a forty-five lob over the visiting keeper who back-peddled furiously only to see it sail over his head and into the net.
Celtic were in the comfort zone now, and only a solid goalkeeping performance kept the score down. Torpey's chance for a hat-trick disappeared as Matthewson caught the curling shot, and Hall's header off a peach of a Meechan cross was superbly saved. Warne did fire off a distance shot for the visitors, but Gamble got back to his line and punched the ball away to safety, but it was mainly one way traffic, Torpey, Hall and Meechan all had chances to extend the lead with Matthewson up for each effort, the save from Meechan's drive the best of the three. But in reality, Celtic were bossing the play with the three goal cushion giving them the confidence to do so.
Both sides made a double substitution, with Ellington and Garner coming on for Hall and Barwick. Ellington was immediately involved, curling a shot from the edge of the box that had Matthewson flying through the air again.
A glimmer of hope came Alfreton's way when a tussle in the middle of the park saw a Law cross into the box that Gamble came to clear, the ball falling to Bowler, some thirty five yards out and an open net. He didn't hesitate he lifted the ball over the intervening defenders and into the back of the net with Gamble still rushing back.
The goal lifted Alfreton a bit, and Cusworth and Law both had efforts, Cusworth's bringing a top-notch save from Gamble and Law seeing his twenty-five yard drive whistle past the wrong side of the upright. As the game went into the final minutes, Barlow (on for Meechan) breezed past his marker and flashed a shot across the face and narrowly wide.
This was yet another solid performance from Celtic, lifting us into third ahead of a crucial game on Saturday when we visit Southport. Alfreton lacked the fight that they had shown at home, and their goal was greeted by a resigned air, with barely a murmur from the visiting fans, and only the slightest celebration from the players.
|4||Walton, Chris||> 63|
|6||Wilson, Matthew||> 63|
|9||Clayton, Paul||> 71|
|14||Cushworth, Brian||< 71|
|15||Pacey, Robert||< 63|
|16||McFadzean, Kyle||< 63|