Celtic had the best of starts against a team tipped to be up or around the top of the table come the end of the season, but it was a win that was totally justified.
Celtic totally dominated the first half, but it looked like a goal would never come. Alex Honeyball went close, heading a corner the wrong side of the post, while Aaron Burns tried his luck on the run, the ball clearing the bar by an inch, before Jake Charles blasted the ball forcing Fabian Speiss into a reaction save to deny him. The save by the Nantwich keeper was not as impressive as his twist through the air to palm away Honeyball’s header off a corner, not as impressive as the fingertip save from Aaron Burns’s header trying to turn in Charles’s cross.
Theo Bailey-Jones got within a whisker of opening the scoring at the end of a great sweeping move and a visionary cross field ball from Greg Wilkinson to free Bailey-Jones to run in on goal. Keaton Webster was alert to put Bailey-Jones under pressure, and in the end, the close range shot went into the side netting with half the ground thinking it had gone in for a moment.
A goal was coming and it came from the simplest of Celtic’s moves of the afternoon. A long floated corner from Oli Roberts and the head of Alex Honeyball, looping the ball back over Speiss into the opposite top corner.
The second half saw Nantwich come more into the game, though it may have been different had Aaron Burns’s cracking effort crept inside the post instead of outside it, but the Dabbers were beginning to create their own chances, Arnold Baxendale blazing over from close range when it looked easier to score and Joel Stair heading a corner wide of the mark being their best chances. At the other end, the Nantwich defence continued to be a tough nut to crack, Matty Wolfenden’s ricocheting shot resulting in a comfortable save at the end for Speiss. Celtic’s defence proved impenetrable today, despite a nerve wracking final five minutes (more for the Celtic fans used to last minute heartache than the players), the defence held firm, Nantwich’s desperate attempts resulted in Tobias Mullarkey having the final shot of the match, clearing the bar and the stand behind from thirty yards out.
There’s still a long way to go, but this is the kind of start Celtic needed.
|5||Webster, Keaton||> 45|
|7||Baxendale, Arnold||> 61|
|11||Davirs, Jordsn||> 75|
|12||Morgan, James||< 45|
|14||Burzinsky, Kristian||< 75|
|15||Jones, Steve||< 61|