Match Report -
Boston Make It Difficult
By Iain Benson

Celtic moved to within three points of Hyde with a win over a committed and dangerous Boston side.

Boston started the stronger of the two teams, hassling and harrying all over the park; it made sure that Jan Budtz was on his toes, pulling off a cracking early stop from Marc Newsham curled towards the bottom corner, and deserved his luck as Jason Lee skied his effort well over the bar. Celtic started to get it together, but were breaking against a resolute and strong Boston defence, keeping the chances to a minimum, restricting openings, though Celtic's final ball was looking a long way short of the killer pass. Steve Brogan fired a free kick over the bar, and Connor Jennings's sweeping shot was parried around the post by Paul Bastock in the Boston nets.

It was pace and one touch passing that undid Boston. From a Boston corner, Celtic broke up field with sensational pace that saw Phil Marsh send Andy McWilliams skipping towards the by-line, pulling the ball back and Arthur Gnahoua arriving, receiving the ball and curling it with precision past the veteran Boston keeper, but it had taken over half an hour to find that small gap in Boston's otherwise excellent defence.

The second half saw more of the same, but the Boston defence were looking more and more creaky as the game wore on, leaving legs in on tackles and snapping at ankles, while Celtic began to look more and more strong. This was reinforced with the introduction of Craig Hobson. Within seconds of coming on, he found himself powering towards goal, with only Bastock to beat, but he curled his shot into the side netting. Moments after this, and as he burst past former Celt Alan White, he was upended just outside the box, but Brogan put the free kick over. It was Hobson's flicked header that set Marsh free, but Bastock was equal to the effort from Marsh, and finally, it was Hobson who made the game safe.

Ten minutes from time, Celtic had Boston pinned in their own box, Jack Rea took what looked to be a rare shot, but it came to Hobson at speed, and he had the presence of mind to divert the shot past Bastock and double Celtic's lead.

In stoppage time, ninety minutes since his last save of note, Jan Budtz was again called into action, and reacted with agility and ability to deny Newsham from close range from a Ryan Semple cross, throwing himself to one side and tipping the shot out for a corner.

From the corner, Celtic got the goal that reflected the pressure. Marsh still ad buckets of pace, and Boston could not keep up, Marsh raced down the field, and pulled the ball across to Hobson arriving in the box, and Hobson finished Boston and the game off. With Hyde drawing, Celtic are now three points behind with two games in hand, and an identical goal difference.

1Bastock, Paul  
2Fairclough, Jordan  > 83
3Jellyman, Gareth  
4Milnes, Ben  
5White, AlanYellow Card 
6Austin, Kevin  
7Semple, Ryan  
8Sleath, Danny  > 67
9Lee, Jason  
10Newsham, Marc  
11Ross, IanYellow Card > 80
12Fairclough, Ben  < 80
14Ward, Tom  
15Hall, Chris  < 67
16Edwards, Tony  < 83
17Drury, Ricky  
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