Celtic lost out in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final to Nantwich’s only effort on goal in the entire game, despite hitting the bar and creating the lion’s share of the chances.
Celtic were passing the ball about comfortably, looking for an opening against the Evo-Stik side, but it took ten minutes for Celtic to find an opening, courtesy of Callum Warburton’s inch perfect curling cross that Hobson nodded into the net, only to be called offside. A scorcher from Jack Rea flew just past the upright, and Stephen Brogan curled a free kick a scant foot above the bar. Rhys Meynell, playing a strong midfield role, and playing it well, found some space on the diagonal forcing Jon Brain into an excellent reaction save, with the ball travelling at some speed. From the resulting corner, Chris Lynch got his head on, looping it over Brain, only to see the ball crash back off the bar and be scrambled clear.
Celtic looked so comfortable and dangerous that it only looked a matter of time before a goal came, so when Greg Wilkinson’s thirty yard drive was scooped up by the Nantwich keeper and launched up-field, it was somewhat against the run of play as Josh Lane fought with Kristian Platt for the ball and fed it to Michael Lennon to drive through the box and finish coolly past Budtz two minutes before the interval. The goal gave The Dabbers some belief and they had a good spell with both Lane and Lennon going close as the half drew to a close.
It was a procession towards the Nantwich goal in the second half, a frustrating display that saw Wilkinson first fire from distance without power and then fire a dipping volley just over the bar from the edge of the box. Craig Hobson went agonisingly close as he flashed his diagonal shot through the box and past the far post, before Nantwich tried and succeeded to stifle the game. With twenty minutes to go, Celtic again started to create the chances, Brogan firing weekly into Brain’s arms after doing the hard work of getting into the box, and Wilkinson seeing his low drive deflected on route to goal making Brain’s scrambled save more impressive, pushing the ball around the post for a corner. Dennis Sheriff, on for Joel Bembo-Leta, got a half chance and looked to make it two goals in two games, only for Brain to tip the ball over. Arthur Gnahoua’s final contribution was to fire a half cleared corner wide before making way for Lloyd Ellams. But there was no time for the substitute to have an impact and Nantwich got the honour of winning the Cheshire Senior Cup.
|9||Lane, Josh||> 70|
|10||Lennon, Michael||> 90|
|12||Everall, Simon||< 70|
|17||Rowley, Josh||< 90|