Match Report -
Celtic stage late Trophy comeback to beat Bootle
By Taran Dhamrait

Stalybridge Celtic staged a dramatic late fightback to beat Bootle FC 5-3 on penalties after the game finished 3-3 after 90 minutes.

Celtic found themselves 3-1 down after 80 minutes but an inspired final 10 minutes saw Celtic score two late goals to send the tie to penalties.

Celtic scored all five penalties whilst Bootle missed one to send Celtic through to the Second Round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Hayden Campbell had initially put Celtic infront during a comfortable first 45 minutes but a second half hat-trick from Ben Hodkinson gave Bootle a two goal lead.

An own goal from Jay Roberts and a 90th minute equaliser from Celtic Under 18’s midfielder Matty Jones saw Celtic fight back.

Jake Burton netted the winning penalty as Celtic enter the second round of the FA Trophy for the first time in 10 years.

Celtic started the game well, dominating possession and looking threatening in attack through their fluid front three. Burton saw a volley saved on 14 minutes by Ryan Jones before Celtic took the lead just before the half hour mark.

Campbell, making his Celtic debut on loan from Salford City finished off a fantastic attacking move, which saw Stephen Brogan receive the ball out wide from Justin Johnson, Brogan crossed well, Campbell took one touch to set himself before hammering the ball past Jones for a special debut goal.

Celtic nearly doubled their lead on 34 minutes, a corner was half cleared to Sam Wedgbury, he chested the ball down and volleyed it goalwards with Jones having to be at full stretch to tip Wedgbury’s shot over the bar.

Burton and Connor O’Grady went close before the interval where Celtic went in a goal up.

The second half panned out differently, with Bootle seeking to have more of the ball and create a way back into the game.

Will Huffer made a fantastic diving save on 59 minutes to deny a header from a set-piece but other than that, Celtic were rarely troubled by the hosts until Bootle were gifted a penalty on 69 minutes.

A long ball into Celtic’s penalty area was controlled with his chest by O’Grady, the home fans screamed for a penalty but the assistant referee strongly indicated by hitting his chest that the ball had hit O’Grady’s chest and not his hand.

However, the referee who was in a worse position than his assistant, blew his whistle and gave a shocking penalty decision, ignoring his assistant’s call. The two officials chatted but the referee wasn’t interested and stuck with his own decision, even though the assistant had a very good view of the incident.

Hodkinson stepped up and sent Huffer the wrong way to put Bootle ahead on 71 minutes. 

A mad three minutes followed which saw Bootle double their lead, Hodkinson cutting inside from the right and firing past Huffer.

With 11 minutes to go, Bootle looked to have the tie wrapped up with Hodkinson grabbing a hat-trick. Huffer made an initial save from Connor Millington’s curling shot, the rebound was fired at goal by Jack McGowan but was blocked superbly on the line by O’Grady but at the third attempt, Hodkinson prodded the ball past Huffer and into the net to give Bootle a 3-1 lead.

Celtic didn’t give up though and they started to apply heavy pressure to Bootle’s goal and it worked as an own goal from Roberts reduced the score to 3-2 with six minutes to go. Substitute Dougie Nyaupembe crossed from the right, after pinball inside the penalty area, Roberts failed to clear and instead stood on the ball and back heeled it into the goal.

Celtic could sense that the hosts were looking nervous and continued to put pressure on Bootle’s defence. Nyaupembe saw a powerful shot travel over the bar before Celtic completed a stunning six minute turn-around to draw level on 90 minutes.

Under 18’s midfielder, Jones was the hero, converting from close range after a corner from Stephen Brogan caused havoc. Celtic’s travelling support went crazy as the tie headed for penalties after a frantic final 10 minutes.

Scott Bakkor, Brogan, Charley Doyle, and O’Grady scored for Celtic and with Bootle captain Liam Loughlin striking the post earlier in the shootout, Jake Burton had the opportunity to win the tie, he finished his spot kick with extreme coolness to send Celtic through to the next round.

Celtic’s team enjoyed big celebrations with the travelling support who had seen their side come from 3-1 down to win on penalties.

Celtic: Huffer, Dawodu, Brogan, Wedgbury, O’Grady, Quansah, Burton, Doyle, Bakkor, Campbell (Jones ’73), Johnson (Nyaupembe ’62).

Subs not used: Killock, Padden, O’Halloran, Smith-Brown, Inneh.

1Jones, Ryan  
2Roberts, Jay  > 89
3Carberry, Michael  
4Bell, Will  
5McCarten, JayYellow Card 
6Hamilton, Matty  
7Homson-Smith, Morgan  
8Loughlin, Liam  
9McGowan, Jack  
10Millington, ConnorYellow Card 
11Hodkinson, Ben  
12Cooper, James  < 89
13Jones, David  
14Coyne, Lewis  
15McLoughlin, Declan  
16Ogunby, Henri