Celtic showed remarkable stamina and determination to come back from a goal down away at play-off hopefuls, Ashton United, and win, despite having finished playing only twenty-one and a half hours prior to kick off.
Ashton could have taken the lead earlier than they did, but Liam Tomsett twice fired straight at George Sykes-Kenworthy and Nic Evangelinos cleared the bar and the stand behind the goal when gifted a glorious chance.
When an unnecessary corner was conceded, Ashton finally took the lead, Lewis Baines arrived unchecked at the back post to thump a header into the top corner.
Celtic had been playing at an understandably lower pace, but after the goal began to look a lot more threatening, starting with Jake Charles’s low blast that had Dave Carnell scrambling across goal to push it around the corner and a burst of speed and power from the young Josh Ramsden culminating in a powerful shot from an angle that bulged the wrong side of the side netting. Meanwhile, Ashton continued to be profligate despite getting chances, Sam Sheridan, Nicky Platt and Liam Tomsett all missing the target, Tomsett inexplicably missing after going one-on-one with Sykes-Kenworthy.
The second half started and it was difficult to tell who’d been playing the night before. Celtic looked lively. Connor Hughes twisted and turned and pulled a good stop off Carnell down low by his post and Brice Pouamoun also forced Carnell into action.
A fully deserved goal sent the travelling supporters wild. Pouamoun held off Dominic Smalley and looped in an inch perfect cross to Matty Wolfenden arriving at the back post with the speed of somebody fully rested. His thumping headed equaliser was well out of the reach of Carnell.
Ashton upped their game, but after Smalley’s powerful shot from an angle had to be palmed around the post by Sykes-Kenworthy and a couple of wayward shots from Jack Dyche and Evangelinos, Celtic came back strongly again.
Moments after Connor Hughes had whipped in a good effort to the top corner, Wolfenden sent Charles on a run right down Carnell’s throat. Carnell spread himself wide to deny Charles’s initial effort, but the ball came right back to Charles who needed no third chance firing the ball past the still falling Carnell.
Carnell had overstretched himself denying the initial effort and was replaced in goal by Aaron Chalmers. Celtic didn’t test Chalmers’s goalkeeping abilities, as they were more content in playing out the last ten minutes. Celtic had to survive a corner that saw Nicky Platt fire well over the bar and a free kick that was on target, but Sykes-Kenworthy was barely troubled by Sam Sheridan’s free kick giving Celtic a well-deserved, and thoroughly unexpected, victory.
|1||Carnel, Dave||> 86|
|11||Mooney, Daniel||> 71|
|14||Olapade, Lanre||< 86|
|16||Smalley, Dean||< 71|