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Match Report -
Players rested - and still won!
By Debbie Taylor

Celtic were missing a couple of key players for this match. Rested were Phil Eastwood and Dave German, whilst Kev Parr was due to play, but his knee flared up in training, and it was decided not to risk him. Nevertheless, Celtic propelled themselves up to 10th in the table (on goal difference) with three well taken goals.

However, it must be said that Celtic were very slow to get going, and Wakefield attacked from the off, with Joice whipping in a cross that eluded everybody in the box, and had to be put back in by Kenworthy. Waiting in the box was Wilson, whose head met the new cross, only to find Dootson in a great position to deny the header. Dootson didn't let it get that far when Washington crossed for Day in the box, Dootson snatched the ball off his golden locks.

Celtic's somnambulistic approach suddenly switched gears when Mayers flicked a ball on to Denham. Denham upped the tempo a dozen notches and unleashed a powerful strike that Fearon deflected over his own bar for a corner. The corner was right into the mixer, but with a lack of practice of this kind of corner, it was cleared. Monk tried to sprint past Fearon, only to be brought down. Fitzgerald's curled free kick was well read by Fearon and hoofed clear.

Mayers was the lynchpin in the Celtic front line, and when Clegg found him with a ball threaded so fine it could have gone through a needle, it was Mayers' vision that saw the superbly placed Wharton and found him with an ideal rolled ball. Wharton struck the ball sweetly and firmly, but the shot rose and rose and eventually just cleared the bar.

Wakefield struggled to regain possession, but eventually won a dubious free kick twenty-five yards from goal, which was floated in to the box and eventually fell to Washington. Washington lashed at his shot, screwing it well wide of the mark. Selby collected the goal kick and won a corner off Smith. The ball was floated into the box and Celtic tried to scramble it clear, but the hacked attempt at a clearance fell nicely to Kenworthy, who, from close range, slipped the ball past Dootson.

Celtic's lack of concentration in the box allowed the home side to nudge ahead.

Denham tried the direct route to bring the sides level, but found Bairstow's foot in his path. Fitzgerald's curled free kick rounded the wall and could have been destined for the bottom corner, had it not struck Mayers and got cleared! Mayers got another chance when Fitzgerald's cross was sliced by Fearon and landed by Mayers. The Celtic striker teed up his shot, but struck it just over the bar. Fitzgerald again supplied Mayers, this time from a throw. Mayers saw Wharton in a good position, and found him with another excellent pass. Wharton's shot was wide this time, mainly due to Nicholson slicing through the back of his legs as he cued up: goal kick only given.

Smith had obviously been regaled on the coach journey up from Parr about the Cooke lob in the Championship winning year, for when Monk fed him the overlap ball, he danced past the defenders and went one-on-one with Cuss, who'd come a long way from his goal line. Smith attempted the lob, but was unable to get it over Cuss.

Celtic won a corner that was too easily cleared, and Emley broke. Keeling was forced into conceding a corner at the other end. Day got on the end of it, and forced a great reaction tip-over from Dootson. The second corner lacked the deadly nature of the first, and was easily cleared.

Nicholson brought down Fitzgerald in full flight, Fitzgerald floated the free kick in himself, and Selby had to knock the ball past his own post to stop Denham doing the same thing, but on the other side of the post. Again the corner was into the mixer, but Fearon was head and shoulders above everybody (literally) and nodded clear.

As the half began to run out Clegg lobbed a ball over the defence for Mayers to run onto. Again Cuss came, and again was always second favourite to reach it. Mayers didn't hesitate when he reached the ball, he lofted it high over Cuss' head and down into the back of the net.

Denham got a great opportunity to end the half with a lead, when Mayers' put him one-on-one with Cuss, but his shot was more of a cross across the face of the goal than a shot, and Cuss collected thankfully. There was nothing Cuss could do though when Denham forced Selby into conceding a corner. Mayers' got his head on the corner with Cuss beaten, only the head of Nicholson kept Celtic out, as the Wakefield defender cleared off the line.

Heald and Caldecott came on in the second half, and immediately the team looked more balanced. Heald replaced Bowman, lightening the load on the right of the park to just Clegg and Monk, but bolstering it on the left, backing up Wharton. Caldecott was also given a run out to gain some necessary match fitness.

Caldecott immediately made his presence known, at the expense of conceding a sequence of free kicks around the Celtic box, each and every one of which was a simple catch for Dootson. Even the corner won off Pearce was given straight to Dootson. If they didn't go to Dootson, they went for a goal kick, including one corner that didn't get as far as the penalty box before going for a goal kick.

Emley seemed to run out of ideas after that, and Celtic upped the tempo. Smith found Denham with a super, sliding ball that allowed the pacy forward to sprint into the box with the defenders chasing him. Clarke slid in from the side and clipped Denham's feet in a clumsy challenge well inside the box, a clear-cut penalty.

And it was given!

Mayers took the penalty sending straight down the middle of the goal, Cuss guessed wrong, and Celtic were in front. And deserved to be.

Heald picked up the ball on the half way line, raced straight toward goal, avoiding the challenges, as he entered the box, he let rip with a low skimming shot that went just the wrong side of the post.

Wakefield almost got back into the game when substitute Flynn sneaked in unmarked onto a Wilson cross, his volley was over, as was any hope Emley had of getting back into the game.

Denham's pace allowed him to race past O'Riley and drop the ball off to Heald. Heald turned and dropped into the box before forcing Cuss into a brave, great blocking save with his feet. Clegg's corner curled back towards goal, and with Cuss many yards away, he watched hopelessly as it clipped the crossbar before going out. Wharton found a bit of space at the edge of the box, and found Cuss in fine acrobatic form as the Wakefield keeper leapt across the face of his goal to athletically tip the ball over the bar. Though Fearon headed the ball out, a goal kick was the decision.

Fearon sliced a Monk cross in an attempted clearance, it fell perfectly for Heald who wasted no time in sticking it into the bottom corner and putting some clear space between Wakefield and Celtic. There was just enough time for Selby to gift Celtic a corner for no apparent reason, but Clegg's ball in took a deflection, and Cuss caught.

Celtic started sleepily, but soon rattled the Wakefield and Emley defence. The home side are not the worst side the Celtic have faced this season, but their lowly position in the league accurately reflects their play on the park. Celtic were deserved winners and now have a good spring board to the FA Trophy game against Canvey Island next week.

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