Celtic got an early opener when Meechan was bundled over in the box by Sucharewycz, with the crowd baying for a penalty, Hall didn't wait for the referee to make up his mind he picked up the loose ball, and powered it past Smith in the Hucknall nets. No need for a penalty there.
Hucknall were not out of it by any means, the pitch was (ironically) a great leveller, and the powerful Knox received the ball through the Celtic defence that parted considerately for him. Knox ran towards goal, but upon entering the box, seemed to forget why he was there, and when Smart got back, Knox tamely knocked it into Gamble's hands.
Forrest got into a few good positions for the home team, but his accuracy was never going to worry Celtic, and Dean too needs to look at his boots when he got into a great position midway through the half, but powered well wide of the mark.
Right before the half time interval, Hucknall should have equalised. Forrest found some accuracy and forced Gamble into a save from a corner, the rebound coming out to Knox, who saw Sykes in the way on the line, sending the ball high into the air for Asher to try and volley home only to send the shot skidding well wide.
The second half started scrappy, but after a few minutes, Celtic started playing some Calypso football, resulting in a narrow miss from Meechan, and a good save from a Hall toe-poke, before Barlow and Garner were brought on for Dean and Winn. Seconds after the introduction of Barlow, Garner picked up the ball from Meechan on the wing, turned past MacPherson like he wasn't there, dodged an horrendous sliding challenge from Sucharewycz, drew Smith from his goal-line, and calmly gave the ball to fellow sub Barlow stood two yards from goal who smacked the ball into the back of the net. Wilson managed to get a hand to the shot, but couldn't keep it out, and under another ref would have received a red card for trying.
Hucknall just could not answer the football Celtic were playing in this purple patch, and moments after the restart, Meechan was allowed to waltz through the defence and fire his shot under Smith to make it three without reply.
Burke was unlucky not to add a fourth when Wilson continued his goaltending duties by knocking Burke's header from a free kick out for a corner. The corner came to Garner and shot had some power, but rose just over the bar.
Attacks by Hucknall were becoming rarer and rarer as they looked to avoid a drubbing. Forrest had the best of the chances, but the shot lacked the will to trouble Gamble, and Celtic just kept coming. Another corner, and this time it was Barwick who picked up the ball at the edge of the box, he curled his shot towards the goal, but saw the ball go the wrong side of the post, a goal would have capped off a fine performance by Barwick.
As the game ran out of time, Celtic seemed content to keep possession, and there was nothing Hucknall seemed able to do about it. After exactly four minutes of stoppage time, Celtic got to within two points of the play offs, with a game in hand that will be played on Monday, at third from bottom Hinckley. A win there would return Celtic to the play off places.
|4||Cooke, Russell||> 83|
|10||Bacon, Danny||> 66|
|12||Saunders, Ben||< 66|
|14||Galloway, Michael||< 83|