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Match Report -
Barlow brace is enough
By Iain Benson
Celtic kicked off their new season under Steve Burr with a win over Radcliffe Borough. The first half saw seven trialists take the field, including Martin Pearson a goalkeeper from the Crystal Palace academy. It was he who had the first shot of the match to deal with when Wilson fired in a loose clearance; though it had power it was straight at him. The response from Celtic was a sweeping move that carried the ball rapidly up the field, with Mike Fish lofting the ball to the back post, when Matty Barlow edged past his marker to nod in the opening goal. Barlow could have doubled his tally from an almost identical move, but his glancing header was well saved by Dittmer in the Borough goals.

Wilson was at it again just before half time, latching onto a loose ball and firing in a distance shot, this caused more problems for Pearson, who had to palm around the post for a corner, keeping the half time score at 1-0 to Celtic.

The second half saw seven players replaced, but Matty Barlow stayed on the pitch and doubled his tally in the opening moments of the half. He received the ball off Ashley Burbeary, weaved past two challenges before skipping into space in the box to go one-on-one with Dittmer, and there was only going to be one result, with Dittmer sent the wrong way by the shot.

Trialist Adam Oakes from Lincoln got into some good space twenty yards out, to fire off a top corner shot that Dittmer did well to reach to push away. Jason Black got onto the corner, but flicked it wide. Having almost had success with his first effort, Oakes tried again from a similar distance, again forcing Dittmer into a fine save, tipping the ball over the bar. On the hour mark, Parr, Sykes, Haran and Paul Tait (the tall striker from Southport), came on.

With quarter of an hour to go, a soft foul twenty five yards out gave Radcliffe a sniff of a chance, and Ian Fitzpatrick took full advantage curling a beautiful free kick over the wall. Pearson got a glove on it, but it wasn't enough to keep the ball out of the net.

With a few minutes remaining, Burbeary put a fine cross in for Tait who scuffed at his shot, sliding the ball under Dittmer, but Simon Kelly was on the line to hack clear and keep the final score at 2-1 to Celtic.

It was a better start to the pre-season friendly campaign than for many a year, but as with all friendlies, gauging the ability of the first team squad was not possible.

Celtic started with the following line up: Martin Pearton, Ryan Laight, Jamie Kay, Barrie Keeling, Michael Stringfellow, Steve Payne, Rico Cullo, Shaun Beelly, Matty Barlow, Michael Fish, Adam Oates. Half time Subs: Kev Parr, Jason Black, Terry Barwick, Andy Smart, James Dudgeon, Ashley Burbeary. Hour subs: Lee Ellington, Paul Sykes, Mark Haran, Paul Tait.

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