Match Report -
Celtic continue to improve
By Iain Benson

Despite going behind to a set piece, Celtic were the more dominant team throughout the match, but Bishop's Stortford were no push overs, and but for Alex Cairns it could have been a different result.

Celtic built patiently, against a well organised defence, with Greg Wilkinson firing over from distance a couple of times, and having one shot blocked by Adam Bailey-Dennis with the keeper stranded. Kristian Platt thumped a header wide of the mark from a corner, so it was somewhat against the run of play that Stortford took the lead.

Callum Warburton's foul on Harry Baker was innocuous, and seemed far enough out to not be a problem, but a wicked free kick from Andy Burns had Cairns at full stretch pushing the ball off his post. As the Celtic keeper pounced on the ball, Blair Sturrock pounced too, and though it looked as though he kicked it from Cairns's hands, the goal stood, and Celtic were behind.

The Celtic players carried on with their game plan of patience, and could have gone two behind had Matt Johnson's shot through a crowd had any significant power; as it was Cairns made the catch comfortably, and slowly, but inexorably, Celtic began to grind down the visitors. Adam Pepper was brought on and immediately produced the perfect ball for the outstanding Jamie Mullan to bring down, beat his man, advance on Warren Carter and beat the Bishop's Keeper with a curling outside of the boot shot.

Celtic didn't look back, and pressed the visitors right back, Alli Abdullah almost forced to fire into his own net, and Adam Pepper's shot was always rising before a rocket of an effort from Callum Warburton required the fingertips of Carter to tip it over. Jack Laird's nippy footwork worked an opening, and his disguised shot almost caught Carter out before Laird did get his goal, with another pin-point pass from Pepper, and a lovely finish from Laird to give Celtic the lead right on half time.

Jack Laird forced Carter into a reaction stop with a snap shot, before Pepper was flattened by Reneil Sappleton central, outside the Bishop's Stortford box. Up stepped Kristian Platt and he unleashed a free kick that was in the back of the net before Carter could react. Full credit to the visitors, they didn't give up and Mike Thalissitis had a couple of chances, the first was a straightforward catch, but Thalissitis's second shot required a great one-handed save from Cairns to keep the two goal cushion going into stoppage time.

1Carter, Warren  
2Burns, Andy  
3Melaugh, Ryan  
4Prestedge, ReeceYellow Card 
5Bailey-Dennis, Adam  
6Francis, Sean  
7Johnson, Matt  
8Abdullah, Alli  > 49
9Sturrock, Blair  > 58
10Cawley, Steve  
11Baker, Harry  > 58
12Waller-Lassen, Jess  < 58
14Livings, Nathan  
15Sappleton, ReneilYellow Card < 58
16Thalissitis, Mike  < 49
17Lette-Jallow, Max