Match Report -
Did it cross the line?
By Deborah Taylor

Contentious goals and frayed tempers, but Celtic held their nerve to record their first home win of the season in dramatic fashion.

Aaron Dwyer looked dangerous from the off and volleyed over in Celtic’s first attack. He was involved again, winning a corner five minutes in. The corner sailed over everybody, with Connor O’Grady heading back across goal. At the opposite post, Greg Wilkinson nodded in the opener. Hednesford came back strongly after going behind, with a trio of corners. Their pressure eventually told. Rivel Mardenborough looked offside, but had beaten the trap to latch onto Tom Thorley’s lofted cross into a crowded box. Hednesford were level. The visitors came within a hairsbreadth of taking the lead when Jack Sang got his shot off under pressure, into the side netting. Close, but Celtic got closer, with Dwyer’s low cross through the box inches away from Matty Bryan’s boot. Bryan had a snap shot just before the interval, with Dan Crane equal to it.

The second half saw possession sway in an end-to-end game, Bryan came close, and Max Harrop’s twenty yard shot was caught by Crane. At the other end, Star Mayemba hit the post with a header, before Celtic deservedly took the lead. A contender for goal of the season saw an inch perfect ball from Jordan Burton come to Dwyer in the corner of the box. At exactly the right angle for him to volley the ball perfectly into the top corner, with Crane only able to watch it fly past his fingers.

Possession swayed the other way again, with the visitors on top. During a mass of players from a corner, Dixon knocked the ball towards goal. Luke Hewitson got down well and pushed the ball out. Nobody called for a goal, but the assistant said it crossed the line and Hednesford equalised.

The team on top switched back and forth, and Max Harrop thought he’d scored, only for Michael Williams to stick out a trailing leg and send his shot for a corner. After a brutal foul on Dwyer, tempers got heated, with Martin Desean seeing yellow, along with several other players from both sides. After everything calmed down, Desean restarted it, and saw red. Stoppage time and the teams were level, but now Hednesford were a player down. When Harrop danced along the touchline and curled his shot, Williams may have got another touch on the ball as it bounced over the line but Celtic had a third and ultimately winning goal. Hednesford disintegrated and Bryan came close to adding a gloss to the scoreline with a low angled drive into the side netting.

1Crane, Dan  
2Gwilt, JacobYellow Card 
3Kelly, Jack  
4Desean, MartinRed Card 
5Williams, Michael  
6Paddock, Sam  
7Sang, Jack  
8Thornley, Tom  > 77
9Mardenborough, Rivel  > 75
10Mayemba, Star  
11Dixon, Max  
12Glover, Danny  < 75
14Andrews, Ryan  < 77
15Bower, Harry  
16Wright, Lewis  
17Richards, Jack