Macclesfield town sent a mixture of youth, reserves and Andre Da Costa (who was returning from injury) and paid the price as Celtic were totally dominant throughout the match.
Both Jack Laird and Corey Gregory saw early efforts parried by the young Conor O?Keefe in the Macclesfield goals, before Jack Laird found the time and space at the edge of the box to curl an effort beyond O?Keefe's fingertips. Moments later and Lewis Hatch put Corey Gregory through on goal, he rounded O?Keefe only for the keeper to inexplicably drag Gregory down, resulting in a mandatory red card, and a penalty that Gregory converted easily, sending substitute keeper, George Whiteoak the wrong way.
Paul Lewis recorded a strike on target for the visitors shortly after, but it was a comfortable save for Alex Cairns who had precious little to do all evening, and Celtic responded when Mitchell Austin raced to the by-line, and pulled the ball back for Gregory to fire unstoppably into the back of the net. Gregory immediately went looking for a rapid hat-trick, but fired over and wide, before trying a close range dink past Whiteoak, but the substitute keeper got down well and caught at the second attempt.
The precession of Celtic pressure continued right up to the interval whistle when Austin literally ran the ball into the net, taking it past a disorganised Macclesfield defence and in at the near post before Whiteoak could react.
Macclesfield started the second half with more intent, with Andre Da Costa taking a more active role. However, it was Liam Leary that came closest to scoring when he lofted in a free kick that was over Cairns, but bounced off the top of the crossbar. Moments later though, Da Costa was in the right place at the right time as Leary won an aerial contest with Kristian Platt, the ball coming down nicely for Da Costa to smash with the outside of his boot, reducing the arrears by one.
However, Celtic quickly regained the upper hand, and the procession of possession continued, Celtic carving up the young Macclesfield Town side at will. Laird and Gregory both came close to adding to their personal tallies, but for Whiteoak denying them, whilst Austin also lashed in a distance effort that was saved. Whiteoak proceeded to deny Gregory with a fine save, getting down quickly to his left and palming the ball around the post, Tom Buckley (on for Prince Haywood) heading narrowly wide. Laird and Greg Wilkinson both put the ball wide from distance before the visiting defence was finally undone with a rocket from Wilkinson, laid off by Laird and put well beyond Whiteoak's reach.
Town were handed a sympathy penalty when Joel Bembo-Leta was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box, the close range shot striking the top of his shoulder. Paul Lewis took the penalty and placed it in the opposite corner to Cairns. It was nothing more than a consolation, and Celtic go on to face Runcorn Linnets at Bower Fold next Wednesday.
|Da Costa, Andre