It was a mixture of teams for both sides, with welcome returns to Kristian Platt and Sean McConville for Celtic. Although a win would have been great for Celtic, the loss isn't massive, as it would have added to fixture congestion at the important end of the season when we have much bigger fish to fry.
Truth be told, Celtic probably edged the possession and the chances, but with Kyle Perry gifted two open goals, there was only going to be one winner.
Alec Mudimu logged the first shot on target of the game trying to skim the ball to Josh Samburg's right, whilst Obi Anorou should have done better firing tamely into Samburg's midriff. Jamie Lawrie registered the first shot on target for the home side twenty minutes in, with an almost back pass to Danny East. Adam Parkhouse's effort lacked power and precision and was fairly comfortable for the home side as the two teams traded chances.
The deadlock was broken when Lawrie's fierce drive was superbly saved by Danny East, the ball spinning up to Lawrie's striker partner Kyle Perry to knock into an empty net, but it could have been equal just seconds later when Obi Anorou raced past the ponderous Altrincham defence and unleashed a cannonball that curled away from Samburg and smacked against the post on the way out. He got another chance seconds later, again outpacing the defence, and trying to knock the ball past Samberg who got down well and tipped the ball just past the upright. Amazingly, with the assistant and referee well out of position and huffing and puffing they missed the very good save and gave a goal-kick.
Altrincham started the second half with an absolute gift of a goal. Danny East got down well to block the ball at Lawrie's feet, but the loose ball was not cleared, but instead rolled to Perry who notched his second of the night.
Celtic were the better side after the goal went in, Tom Buckley's cracking effort from outside the box bringing a superb save from Samburg, before it was Altrincham's turn to make a mistake, former Celt, Greg Wilkinson's lax pass latched onto by Sean McConville who raced towards goal and unleashed a curling, dipping shot that resulted in the goal of the night.
It looked for a moment that Altrincham would restore their two goal cushion when Louis Smith brought Kyle Perry down in the box. Perry took the spot kick himself and struck it well enough, but Danny East pulled out an incredible save to deny Perry his hattrick.
Extra time was avoided when Samberg first saved off a corner from Louis Smith's low drive after Altrincham failed to clear a corner, and then saved superbly well from Adam Parkhouse. Truth be told, Altrincham could probably do without the fixture congestion the tie away at Tranmere will entail, but with Celtic battling at the other end of the table, leaving the competition is better news than a win. Additionally, it shows the improvement in the past two months as Altrincham probably expected another 5-0 win.
|11||Mwasile, Joe||> 13|
|16||Pouncy, Max||< 13|