The warning was there when Steve Woods had to hack a corner off the line with Paul Phillips beaten, before Celtic left too much space at the back and Ben Deegan found Carlos Roca after latching onto Andy Smart's loose pass. Roca raced into the empty space, and with John Hardiker the only one able to get back in time to pick up Deegan's run, Roca took the direct route, and curled the ball past Phillips. A diving save from Phillips kept Jake Cotterell's effort out, and Adam Tong put the resulting corner over the bar.
A whole host of fouls from FC United saw Woods almost make the most of it, but his header was well saved by Sam Ashton in the home goals, before Warren Peyton almost curled a free kick in, but for Ashton to keep the goal lead. From the resulting corner, FC United raced up field and only alert keeping from Paul Phillips kept Celtic in shouting distance from Phil Marsh's low drive. However Marsh wasn't to be denied, and he took advantage of a mix up ijn defence to ghost through a crowd and double United's lead.
Celtic needed a goal before half time, and it came from a sweeping move when Keith Briggs picked out Dave Hankin's run with a seventy yard cross field ball right into Hankin's path allowing him to speed past Simon Garner and whip in a cross that Matty Barlow ghosted in onto and volleyed past Ashton.
FC United got started in the second half quicker than Celtic, and when Wright's shot was well blocked on the near post by Phillips, David Chadwick was on hand with the rebound to return the two goal cushion United's way. Had Hardiker not hacked Cotterell's shot off the line it would have been goodnight Celtic, but he did, and when Hankin again left Garner in his wake, his ball in was met this time by Joe O'Neill, who thankfully reduced the deficit to one goal and enough time to do something about it.
And do something about it Celtic did, attacking the hosts with waved after wave of yellow shirts. O'Neill's drive off Battersby's cross was parried by Ashton, with Barlow unable to do anything but have the ball bounce off his head and over, before a turn and volley sent a looping ball from Barlow over Ashton only to hit the crossbar, with Hankin unable to get over the rebound, sending it wide.
Celtic were back on level terms when O'Neill was forced wide by Chadwick, only for the United defender to lunge in unnecessarily and trip O'Neill. O'Neill took the penalty himself, firing in the perfect, unstoppable penalty.
A trio of corners saw last ditch defending from the home side, before Hardiker's looping header cleared the keeper and bar, whilst Joe O'Neill and Dave Hankin both hit the side netting. A thumping header off one corner was well stopped by Ashton as time started to run out. Jerome Wright forced Phillips into a stoppage time save, whilst Dave Hankin burst through and cut a reverse shot that smacked against the post. With seconds left on the clock, Keith Briggs could have added to his already legendary status, but his hopeful effort was wide.
So a replay is required, and this will take place on Tuesday, at 7:45pm, at Bower Fold.
|6||Tong, Adam||> 58|
|14||Nugent, Rob||< 58|
|2||Smart, Andrew||> 54|
|10||Barlow, Matty||> 82|
|11||Jennings, Connor||> 58|
|12||Hobson, Craig||< 58|
|15||Battersby, Richard||< 54|
|17||Ennis, Paul||< 82|