Match Report -
Fit and strong Blyth provide a stern test for Celtic
By Iain Benson

Blyth were the hardest working team to visit Bower Fold this season, pressing and harrying all over the field for the full ninety minutes, even after going down to ten men.

On loan goalkeeper, David Knight was the busier of the two keepers, Craig Hobson warming his palms from distance in the opening minute, and being helped out by a sliding Carl Jones at the near post to deny Connor Jennings. Knight then reacted superbly well to deny Connor Jennings when one-on-one, diverting Jennings's shot around the post with a stuck out foot. At the other end, Jan Budtz kept the scores level with a full stretch save to deny Wayne Phillips, and stopped Dan Groves's distance effort.

Most of the chances were falling to Celtic, and with a little more luck, Greg Wilkinson would have opened the scoring, but an excellent stop from Knight denied him, before the impressive Knight reacted with speed and agility to keep Phil Marsh out, before Lloyd Ellams's shot deflected off Marsh's back with Knight going the wrong way, but he twisted and got to the shot. Marsh went close under pressure and it was beginning to look like the Blyth defence would not be breached.

Until a low driven shot from Greg Wilkinson, twenty-yards out, his shot skipping off the grass and curling away from Knight who was wrong footed and could only watch Celtic open the scoring right before the interval.

In the second period, Callum Warburton was brought on for Craig Hobson and immediately was presented with an opportunity, firing above the bar from the edge of the box, with Knight leaping to make sure he had it covered.

The hill Blyth had to climb got steeper with a moment of madness from the otherwise excellent Wayne Phillips, after Jennings ran past him, he threw out an arm and slapped Jennings across the face. He gave the referee no option, and was dismissed.

Ellams went close with a powerful skimming shot that flashed across the face before Warburton forced Knight into a decent stop as Celtic were content to play possession football and take an opening when it presented.

That opening fell for substitute Adam Kay, who overlapped Connor Jennings, with Jennings placing a perfect ball into his path that Kay smashed towards goal. Blyth defenders threw themselves in the path of it, and Knight went flying through the air, but the shot was wicked and inch perfect, with nothing Knight could do and Celtic were two up.

Celtic continued to play possession for the remaining quarter of an hour, only going for the opening when it was clear, although both Kay and Wilkinson had shots, they were wayward, and there had been better options available.

With the endeavour and attitude Blyth showed, they should soon be climbing the table.

1Knight, David  
2Groves, Dan  
3Cave, Phil  
4Jones, Carl  
5Slaughter, Richie  > 78
6Buchanan, WayneYellow Card 
7Forster, Adam  > 45
8Hooks, Neal  
9Alexander, John  
10Emms, Chris  > 69
11Phillips, WayneRed Card 
12Purvis, Dylan  < 45
14Anzevui, SebastianYellow Card < 78
15Coulson, Dave  
16Mason, Lee  < 69
17Hunter, Matt  
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