Celtic didn’t so much crash out of the Cheshire Senior Cup as watch it pass them by. Although Northwich Manchester Villa didn’t create many chances, neither did Celtic.
Perhaps the early goal coupled with the four league difference lulled the players into a false sense of automatic entry into the next round, but the warning signs were there when the lively Danny Burns skipped into the box and forced Tony McMillan to block a low shot.
Celtic too fired a warning shot, Amour Lingouba glanced a header into the bottom corner from a Peter Wylie cross only to have it called off for offside. Alex Mudimu also went close when his low drive was diverted around the post for a corner that Aidan Chippendale whipped in. It wasn’t cleared properly, and Dale Wright came in unmarked and also glanced a header into the bottom corner.
Celtic should have gone rampant. Villa’s defence was exposed as unable to deal with the Celtic attack, but after Dale Wright saw his shot saved, Celtic seemingly seemed content to control the game. There were a couple of shouts for penalties that were mystifyingly denied, an elbow on Steve Tames and Chris Simm upended by two players, but despite this, Celtic looked like they’d go through not through attack, but through keeping Villa at bay.
Apart from a Chris Simm thumping header from an early second period corner, Celtic continued in the same vein. Too many wayward balls into the box, too many misplaced passes. It started to look inevitable that Villa would get a chance, and take it, and they did. During an attack, it looked like they’d be kept at bay, but Gavin Salmon knocked the ball sideways to Socrates Martin, nobody closed him down, and he curled a shot up and over down and round, past McMillan and in.
That goal spurred Celtic on. Alex Mudimu headed a corner narrowly over, and Adam Farrell’s rocket of a shot after a good move was well saved by Dan Whiting. It wasn’t as good as the one from Aidan Chippendale’s wicked free kick five minutes from time.
Just when it looked likely that extra time would be needed, Chippendale caught Danny Burns clumsily right on the edge of the box. Burns took the free kick himself, when it thumped against the far post, it looked like Celtic had got away with it, until it hit the other post and went in.
Without the endeavour, Celtic didn’t deserve the win.
|10||Clarke, Cameron||> 90|
|14||Prendergast, Gareth||< 90|