Match Report -
A very positive performance
By Iain Benson
In preparation for the FA Cup clash with Hyde on Saturday, Celtic?s first team played in the Cheshire Senior Cup and were just two strong for Unibond First Division ? North team Woodley Sports. Only some good goalkeeping from Higginbottom kept the score-line reasonable for the visitors.

Roca started the attacks in the first minute, latching onto a loose ball at the edge of Woodley?s box, but his curling shot was over the bar. Roca turned provider off a corner, finding Ellington with a pin-point cross. Ellington?s shot would have beaten Higginbottom, but a diving header from Marsh put the ball closer to the visiting keeper, and he smothered it gratefully on the line. A goal was inevitable, and it had to be Roca who provided it, racing onto a ball he had no right to reach and whipping in a fine first time cross. Hall came in powerfully at the back post, and bulleted his header past Higginbottom.

Celtic should have doubled their lead, first Roca?s shot was blocked by an outstretched boot from Higginbottom, the rebound pushed out by Roca to Davies, whose shot thudded against the base of the post. Win disposed Higginbottom and lobbed the ball to Hall who flicked onto Ellington and his header was well saved by the overworked keeper. A cross from Barlow found Roca who forced Higginbottom into another fine save, and off the corner Hall headed narrowly wide. Ellington again found the visiting keeper in fine form when he burst into the box and his powerful strike was well parried, with Roca flicking the loose ball back to Ellington, only for Russell to nod away.

Roca was terrorising Woodley?s defence and in full flight he was scythed down with a cynical challenge from Watson to give Celtic a free kick on the edge of the box, but Higginbottom was able to claim in a crowd. A second goal was coming, and it came through Winn?s vision. A lifted ball into the box from Davies was screwed on by Winn to the perfectly positioned Hall, who applied the coup de grace with a flicked header into the bottom corner. Hall could have got his hat-trick moments later when Roca ?s cross stranded the whole defence, but Hall?s volley zipped over the bar.

A Roca run allowed him to show off his silky skills as he danced past several Woodley players before sliding the ball into the path of Hall who was only denied by a last-ditch sliding tackle at the post by Pavey. From the resulting corner, Sykes got up well and nodded the ball into the back of the net, but the referee deemed he had impeded Higginbottom in order to do it and the half time score remained 2-0.

Woodley should have started the second half by pulling a goal back when Crandison?s lofted ball to the back post found Robinson, but Woodley?s top scorer headed well wide of the goal. The near miss spurred Celtic back into action, and Hall used his pace and power to burst into the box, and though he had a half chance himself and on a hat-trick, saw Roca completely unmarked at the back post and gave him the perfect pass to tap in Celtic?s third.

Roca could have doubled his tally after twisting Derrick in knots before unleashing a powerful shot, but Higginbottom caught well, and a Sykes back heel went wide.

Again, Woodley should have pulled a goal back when Pavey cleverly lifted the ball over Garner for Robinson. Robinson?s volley crashed back off the angle between post and bar. Crandison also had a chance with a distance effort, but the low-powered shot didn?t stretch Gamble. With Celtic taking it easy, more chances were coming Woodley?s way, and a shot from Pavey was deflected off Barwick forcing Gamble to scramble across the face of goal and tip the ball out for a corner. Pavey finally did grab a consolation for Woodley, racing through the defence and chipping Gamble with a well crafted individual goal.

Again Celtic slipped up through the gears and started showboating. A fifty yard precision pass from Oakes found Barlow. He knocked it first time to Burbeary, a back heel from Burbeary back to Barlow who slipped it to the near post where Burbeary was arriving and Burbeary completed the move with the goal it deserved.

A solid performance from Celtic was the perfect build up for Saturday. At times it was one-way traffic, and Woodley never really stood a chance.

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