Match Report -
Chester go through, Celtic go out
By Iain Benson
Although Chester played a very youthful side, Celtic's approach of avoiding injuries or suspensions meant that the visitors would always have a chance, and they took it.

Right from the off, Celtic were in trouble following a slip from Graeme Law, a low cross was a tap in for Lloyd Ellams gave Chester the perfect start. They nearly doubled that minutes later again through Ellams, this time a powerful edge of the box drive that had Ryan Moss flying to tip it around his post. Seconds later and Celtic almost equalised as Joe O'Neill saw his effort hit the legs of Rawlinson, the rebound coming to Dave Hankin, but this time it Joe Freeman on the line to block the shot.

Celtic did pull a goal back, with Michael Carr harrying Freeman into an error that allowed him to cross low to Joe O'Neill, his back to goal, O'Neill turned superbly well and rifled in low past Andrew Murphy. Chances were at a premium, but Celtic passed and kept possession well, until right near the end of the half, Freeman's foul on Keith Briggs allowed a Warren Peyton free kick to test Murphy properly, finding him up to the task.

Celtic had their chances in the second half, Barlow going very close before Murphy pulled off the save of the match as O'Neill held off Rawlinson to try and poke past Murphy only for the keeper to react well and palm the ball away. Celtic rued that chance after Richard Battersby unceremoniously shoved Ellams off the ball near the corner flaf, and Chester's danger man at set pieces Connell Rawlinson got highest in the box for the free kick to smash his header past Moss and give the visitors the lead. Chester were content to invite Celtic onto them, but Celtic possibly had their minds on Saturday's big league game away at Droylsden, and never really threatened, though a Dave Hankin ball into the box saw Craig Hobson stretching, but not quite far enough to turn it in.

Right at the death, Joe Freeman could have put a gloss on the result with a speculative dipping shot that clipped the crossbar, but 2-1 was a fair reflection of the chances in the game, and Chester go through.

1Murphy, Andrew  
2Freeman, Joe  
3Whitcombe, Ben  
4Rule, Glenn  
5Rawlinson, Connell  
6Owen, James  
7Coulter, Sam  > 57
8Rea, Jack  
9Ellams, Lloyd  
10Jones, Ben  > 77
11Wilkinson, Ben  
12Oconnell, Josh  
14Walker, Nick  < 57
16David, Ryan  < 77
17Mills-Evans, Kieran  
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E. Taylor & Sons
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