The first half gave no indication of the thriller that was to come. Although Celtic seemed to have the measure of the home side, and passed it around well, chances were scarce, with Joe O?Neill and Steve Woods both coming close. The longer is stayed goalless, the braver Stocksbridge got, and Brian Cusworth registered the home side?s first effort, but sent his shot over the bar. Moments later, and the home side got their first real chance and took it. Jamie Vardy lashing home a cross that beat Paul Phillips, and though John Hardiker got a foot to it in on the line, it was not enough to divert it wide.
Keith Briggs could have evened the score straight away with his headed effort, but Ben Scott flew across to tip out for a corner. Celtic hadn?t let the goal phase them, and when Joe O?Neill was put past the defence by Warren Peyton to go one-on-one with Scott, he made no mistake, drilling the ball under the Steels custodian and followed the ball all the way into the back of the net to make sure.
The second half kicked off in dramatic fashion when Scott clipped Joe O?Neill after the Celtic striker had pushed the ball past him with an empty net begging, earning a booking in the process. Matty Barlow stood up to take the penalty, but it lacked the power, and with Scott guessing right, he made the block, but Connor Jennings had followed the ball in, and pulled the ball back to Barlow with Scott scrambling for the Celtic man to knock in at the second attempt.
Briggs could have provided the necessary cushion, but Scott pulled off a good stop, but there was nothing he could do when Dave Hankin?s ball floated over the top of everybody and Keith Briggs was there to power his header home. Seconds later, and Barlow slipped the ball through for Jennings to chase, again Scott clipped Jennings as he pushed the ball past the keeper, but Jennings kept his feet, and slid the ball into the empty net. Dave Hankin topped all the goals with a goal of the season contender, the short corner putting him at the corner of the box where he curled a powerfully struck shot over the helpless Scott and into the top corner.
Peyton had the luxury of sending a free kick well over the bar, before Stocksbridge broke well and gave the ball to the impressive Vardy, who again drilled low past Phillips into the bottom corner, to reduce the deficit from 5-1 to 5-2. Any chance of a late comeback was thwarted when Scott brought down Joe O?Neill for a second time, earning a second booking and a sending off. Craig Hobson, on for Matty Barlow, stepped up and smashed the ball past the substitute keeper. Five goals behind, with fifteen minutes to go and a man down, the home side could have just given up, but they kept plugging away, although it was Celtic that continued to carve out the chances, with Michael Carr coming close twice before forcing the stand in keeper into a low save.
Captain Keith Briggs put the gloss on the victory when Connor Jenning?s cross eluded everybody except Briggs who again thumped his header into the back of the net.
Despite seven goals, two penalties, five substitutions and a sending off, there was no stoppage time.
|5||Green, Adam||> 50|
|10||Ward, Mark||> 75|
|15||Cockerill, Dave||< 50|
|16||Radcliffe, Dave||< 75|