Match Report -
Flat Stanley
By Debbie Taylor

This was a show of capable defending and incisive finishing by the Bower Boys.

Stanley started the most brightly. Within the first ten minutes, they had three excellent chances, one a shot almost from the kick off that Mulin put wide, shortly followed by a free kick, that was also put wide. Brennan then wriggled free of Crookes, to get onto a cross, but he put it straight into Ingham's arms.

As if to show them how it was done, Celtic wrestled the ball from a tenacious Stanley, and fed it right to Sullivan. Sully raced up the right flank, and swung a cross into the box, that Cooke headed back and down, to the edge of the box, where Parr came racing in to thunder a drive past the right arm of Speare in the Stanley nets.

Moments later, Cooke again tried to be a provider, feeding Jones, who's stretching leg could just not divert the cross far enough to sneak inside the post.

This was not the Accrington side that crumbled after one goal, like the last time we played them. Mulin and Ceraolo both tried to get the better of Ingham, the latter shooting from point blank range, only to see Ingham's legs tip the ball around the post, five minutes earlier, Ingham's legs had again stopped Ceraolo from equalising.

Celtic finished the half the stronger, with Cooke's header off a Bauress free kick just clearing the bar, and Parr's blast from outside the box through the crowd was excellently saved by Speare who must have saw it late.

Celtic didn't exactly start the second half with all guns blazing, but they were workman like - they had the goal advantage, and could afford to entice Accrington out a little. This could have been dangerous, except that Pickford's tireless tracking back on the left ensured that nothing would come down this channel all game.

When Celtic did get forward it was usually Sullivan feeding the ball in - he wore out two defenders during the game! Onto the end of one, Parr's Volley was superbly saved, whilst Cooke's header was athletically tipped over. From the corner, Bauress floated a superb ball in, which Parr was only too grateful to nod home.

On one of his runs, Sullivan was dragged down by his current marker. Bauress stepped up, and whipped in a bending free kick. The tallest man in the box was Filson, and he met the ball well, heading down past the keeper's flailing arm.

Still Stanley would not roll over. Recently brought on Baxter forced a corner from Locke, which was curled into the box. A header at the near post saw the ball arc across the six yard box, with neither team able to reach it. The ball was fed out to Carden, who wasted a golden opportunity by clearing the Joe Jackson stand.

Filson never does anything by halves . . . A free kick twenty-five yards out was placed by Bauress. Normally these would be floated into the box - this time he blasted it. A deflection off the jumping wall saw it go for a corner. Bauress trotted over and crossed into the box. The keeper came for the ball to punch it. Filson's chest is very wide, and the keeper's punched clearance could not clear that, allowing Filson to chest the ball into the net. I'm sure it took him a moment to realise that it was a legitimate way to score.

McNeil then saw a shot saved, Filson saw a header, then a volley blocked and saved, and Parr was unable to complete his hat-trick as his header was tipped around the post. But it was just going through the motions, both Celtic and Stanley knew that the final score would be in Celtic's favour.

When we were three nil-up with 15 minutes left, Wilson decided to give Matthew McNeil a run out. He had been injured in the FA Trophy match against Marine. You could tell from McNeil's movement that he was not fully fit yet, but the brief game should help him get ready for the clash with Hyde where his presence will be felt keenly.

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