Celtic probably were just shading the chances when a game changing penalty, six minutes into the second half proved to be the only goal of the match.
For the opening half hour, the visitors were arguably the stronger, both Luke Ashworth and Dean Stott had efforts on target, without Celtic creating any chances in return. The Celtic defence almost cracked when Tom Greaves was eventually steered wide, but his ball to Tom Brown gave the fullback a great opportunity, but under pressure from Jack Higgins, his shot went into the side netting. Higgins, Hughes and Shaw were the busiest back line, but it wasn’t all one way traffic after the half hour, with a Steve Tames dipping effort pushed around the post by former Celtic keeper Dave Carnell, and Jack Higgins heading the corner wide, and just before the interval John Shaw got forward, and with lack of crossing options, went for goal himself, but the angle was too acute and Carnell. Alex Johnson thought he’d grabbed the opener, but was ruled in a dubious offside.
The second half started with more of the same, with FC United pressing straight from the whistle, and Rory Fallon twice going close. Once with Tony McMillan getting down well and the second blazing over.
Then the game turned. Aidan Chippendale had been a thorn in the FC United defence all game, but when he was through on goal about to tap the ball past Dave Carnell for the opener, Nia Bayunu undoubtedly fouled Chippendale, there was no question it was a penalty, the only question hanging in the air, was if he would be dismissed – and he was.
Bohan Dixon took the penalty and made it look easy.
FC United were suddenly inundated as Celtic pressed harder and pushed them back, carving out some great chances to grab the second. Aidan Chippendale almost got his goal, but Carnell made a decent stop and then made an outstanding stop with an outstretched foot to divert Been McKenna’s low shot one-on-one away from goal. Moments later and Chippendale unleashed a ferocious curling shot that had Carnell beat, but not the far post, which it thudded against. Moments later and he’d beaten the full back again, and this time cleared the bar with a shot. Bohan Dizon turned provider with a wonderfully weighted cross for substitute Darius Osei, but the young Celtic striker also cleared the bar.
Celtic were running rampant trying to find the second, McKenna fired into Carnell’s arms, but Carnell had to be at full stretch to tip away Chippendale’s shot, as Celtic took full advantage of the narrowness across the back of FC United.
However, as the game approached its finale, Celtic still hadn’t found a second, and FC United pressed in gung-ho desperation, piling forward at every set-piece despite the risks at the back. It nearly paid off when Luke Ashworth got his head on a cross, but Tony McMillan watched that sail over the corner of post and crossbar. McMillan was on sparkling form, catching crosses into the box, whilst Crowley was an unsung hero in the back line.
When the game went into stoppage time, apart from a wild Dixon effort, Celtic were content to go to the corners and play the game out, and it worked, Celtic moving up to tenth ahead of next Saturday’s cup match in Kendal.
|3||Brown, Tom||> 52|
|7||Wolfenden, Matty||> 68|
|11||Madeley, Sam||> 68|
|14||Lindfield, Craig||< 68|
|16||Byrne, Callum||< 68|
|17||Lynch, Chris||< 52|