The first half showed n o indication of what was to come in the second, though Celtic came racing out of the blocks with loan signing Denham latching onto a through ball from Briggs of perfect weight, and running straight at Mackenzie in the Hinckley goal. With the Hinckley defence struggling to catch the zippy winger, there was only one outcome, and Denham coolly slotted the ball into the corner of the net inside five minutes.
Barlow got a couple of chances off fouls that he nodded wide before another Denham speed boost took him past Bradshaw, and the Hinckley defender up ended Denham. A clear penalty and it was given. Torpey elected to take the spot kick, but Mackenzie did well to get across and palm the ball away.
Hinckley are no mugs, and they showed that with some good passing culminating in Webster?s cross turned shot going over Phillips head from an acute angle, striking the crossbar and going for a throw. Anything Webster could, it seemed, so could Denham: another surging run had the defence back peddling, but this time his low drive hit the upright. In between a dangerous tackle that left Torpey in some pain resulted in a yellow card for Lloyd, a moment that would prove decisive in the second half.
In the second half, Hinckley went looking for the equaliser, and Webster found himself with some space at the edge of the box, which he used to plant the ball towards the bottom corner, but somehow Phillips got down to put a hand on the ball and divert it wide. The first half booking for Lloyd came back to haunt him when he fouled Ellington near the corner flag, and kicked the ball away, meaning he saw a second yellow, and went for an early bath.
The man disadvantage did not tell at first, as Gidding and Gooding both got on the end of set-pieces, but shot wide from close range, before Celtic went on a fifteen minute rampage.
A diagonal ball from Torpey came to Ellington, with only the keeper to beat, he dragged the ball back to round Mackenzie and although Platnauer came sliding in, there was nothing he could do to stop Ellington?s coolly taken goal. It could have been three seconds later when Denham exploited the space to smash in a shot from the edge of the box, but that one sailed wide, before a Briggs won the ball in the middle of the park, gave it Torpey, three or four yards inside his own half. The Celtic man saw Mackenzie out of his area and fired in a sixty yard lob that sailed over the Hinckley keeper and into the back of the net.
Not to be outdone, when Phillips raced off his line and instead of smashing the ball up field away from Gooding, he tried to pass to Woolliscroft only for Webster to intercept and launch a thirty-five yard effort into the back of the Celtic net, to bring the score back down to 3-1.
If anything, the goal made Celtic work harder, and within three minutes, Barlow controlled Barwick?s through ball with aplomb and slotted it past Mackenzie in a smooth move that made it look easy. Torpey created space and drew defenders at the edge of the box, before sliding the perfect low pass to the back post. Barlow dummied at the near post, and Barwick slid in at the back, diverting the ball past the overworked Hinckley keeper.
Joynes was brought on for Ellington, received the ball with his back to goal at the edge of the box, and turned his marker with great control, before slotting Celtic?s sixth past a despairing Mackenzie with his second touch since coming on. Jennings, the young lad who?d come through the Celtic academy showed great promise and industry, and when Barwick deflected Roma?s clearance high up into the air, he showed great composure to instantly control the plummeting ball, before smashing it over Mackenzie in stoppage time.
He could have had a hat-trick with an angled drive forcing Mackenzie into a smart stop, and a header off a corner just wide still in stoppage time; Barwick could have also had another with a dipping effort that Mackenzie caught well.
A result like this had been on the cards for some time, and when the pieces fell into place, it was Hinckley United who were the unlucky recipients.
|6||Platnauer, Leigh||> 80|
|12||Smith, Curtis||< 80|