In the first half, Andy Smart stung Paul Phillips palms, with Phillips spilling the ball for a corner that Tim Ryan nodded wide. Then moments after Banim had skied a free kick, Droylsden broke swiftly and dangerously, the ex-Celts linking up in Neil Prince feeding Alex Meechan to run one-on-one at Dave Carnell and clinically slot the ball past him. Celtic went for the instant response, but Matty Barlow?s shot was straight down Phillips?s throat, and Jody Banim did well to get a shot off at all under pressure from Steve Halford, but he did, and forced a corner Celtic wasted. Again Droylsden broke, and comedic defending with Keeling and Woods and Carnell all getting tied up at the near post from Tony Gray?s initial effort saw Keeling?s looping clearance head towards goal, with Meechan sparing his blushes by getting the last touch.
Keeling almost made up with it, with a cracking header off a corner, but it cleared the bar and again Celtic were made to look pedestrian as Droylsden simply passed the ball around with Celtic chasing it, culminating in an initial Neal Prince save from Dave Carnell, only for the loose ball to be sent straight back into the back of the net by Anton Brown. Prince could have added a fourth, but Carnell denied him at the expense of a corner, and Celtic were glad to hear the half time whistle.
Just past the hour mark, with Danny Adams and Lee Dodgson replaced by Connor Jennings and Greg Wilkinson, and Celtic looked hungrier. And now it was Celtic?s turn to press, with Andy Smart?s cross flicked into the path of Jody Banim by Michael Twiss for Banim to race towards his former team mate Paul Phillips, and rifle home. There was still a mountain to climb for Celtic, and some of the passing was wayward. Reserve player Joel Bembo-Leta was given a rare first team start, and made a nuisance of himself in the middle of the park as Celtic edged closer and closer to Droylsden?s goal. Smart fired a free kick well over the bar, and fired a run and shot straight at Phillips as time was almost up. In stoppage time, with Droylsden looking nervous, despite the two goal cushion, Jody Banim took a free kick that had a block and Paul Phillips?s hand on it, but still went in.
With only seconds left, Celtic looked for an unlikely equaliser, leaving a wide open space for Phillips to pump into and Tony Gray to chase. One on one with Carnell, the Celtic keeper went down early, and Gray lifted the ball over him and the bar leaving the score line a lot closer than the game suggested.
|3||Brownhill, Liam||> 88|
|10||Meechan, Alex||> 70|
|11||Prince, Neil||> 64|
|14||Smith, Paul||< 64|
|15||Leadbetter, Kevin||< 70|
|16||Buttler, Chris||< 88|