Celtic could have been a goal up in the first minute when Joynes turned the ball goal-ward from a Williams through ball, but Lindley was in the right place to make the catch, before a precision long ball down the field bypassed the Celtic midfield and defence, for Kettle to run onto, and run in he did when Keeling allowed the ball to bounce before attempting the clearance. Kettle stole the ball and lashed the ball past Phillips.
Hucknall, buoyed by the early goal provided a stern test for Celtic all over the park, however, Celtic were creating chances, with Briggs and Torpey both forcing Lindley into action, and only a late block from Winder denying Joynes?s half volley.
Rickets was using his strength to lead the line for the hosts, and three times got into good positions, a header fortunately straight at Phillips, and twice hitting the side netting. As the half wore on, Celtic pushed the home team further and further back. Williams?s powerful effort from the edge of the box was blocked by the raised arm of Sucharewycz, but it was ball to hand in the official?s opinion. Hucknall raced down the other end and won a corner, which was not cleared and Wilson?s half volley from distance had to be tipped over with a wonderful save from Phillips.
It looked like Hucknall might take a lead into the interval, until with five minutes of the half remaining, a Torpey shot was parried by Lindley, and Williams, latching onto the rebound, saw his shot blocked by Sucharewycz. From the corner, Hucknall couldn?t clear the ball, and Ricketts barrelled into the back of Williams on the edge of the box. Barwick stepped up to take the free kick, and saw it deflected past the keeper.
Hucknall started the second period brightly, with Kettle attempt to catch the Celtic rear-guard napping again, but Phillips was alert. With his next effort sailing over the bar, and Cullingworth (a trialist pre-season with Celtic) also clearing the bar, Celtic were looking more in control. Williams forced Lindley into a decent stop, before latching onto a looping ball in the centre circle and taking it past one defender. With open space in front of him, Williams raced for the Town goal, only at the last minute putting a weeping cross into the path of Ellington. One-on-one and Ellington doesn?t miss those, sliding the ball into the bottom corner.
Moments later and Celtic increased their lead, Woolliscroft bursting into the box, only for Winder to stick out a foot and send Woolliscroft crashing to the ground. There was no hesitation, and Torpey stepped up to take the spot kick, smashing the ball the opposite way to the keeper.
Celtic tried to slow the game down after that, but Hucknall were having none of it, and won a corner. The near post corner was flicked on to Bacon, who snuck in and powered a header past Phillips to narrow the deficit. There was something of a scramble from the home side looking for an equaliser, but the Celtic back line held firm, and could have twice extended their lead again, with Barwick?s shot blocked by Winder, and a superb move culminating in a low cross to Platt (on for Barwick) that he swung at air for when any kind of connection would have been a goal.
It was by no means a performance for the scrapbook, but Celtic were up against a strong minded team looking for their first win of the season, who were not just going to roll over.
|6||McKenzie, Matt||> 28|
|7||Smith, Mark||> 45|
|15||Sucharewycz, Gary||< 28|
|17||Cullingworth, James||< 45|