Match Report -
Tag-team football
By Debbie Taylor

The first half of the match was like a proper cup match, with a few nasty tackles flying in. Ironically, Steve Foster was clattered by a Hyde man, Paul Jones with a knee high tackle. Though the injury wasn't serious Jones got a yellow card. Jones was lucky to stay on the pitch, as later he pushed Eastwood in the face just outside the box.

Steve Foster had been a busy little bee up until that point, and remained so until the tag-team period in the second half.

Celtic had the better of the opening exchanges with Eastwood almost getting onto Foster's whipped in cross from a difficult angle, and Wharton unable to curl his snapped off shot inside the post, nor convert the free kick after the foul on Foster. And hen Eastwood broke from the chasing pack to run down on Fish in the Hyde goal, we knew it would be one of those nights as he stumbled his shot wide of the mark.

That all changed when Potts nicked the ball off Keilthy, ran into the box only to be up-ended by Keilthy well inside the box, obvious penalty, and Eastwood slotted into the opposite corner to Fish's hands.

Hyde got and spurned a couple of chances, as Tolson tried to find his range, bit most of the action was down at Fish's end of the pitch. Fish proved he still has the moves when Foster controlled a long ball and spotted Fish way off his line, and tried an audacious lob from 40 yards. Fish got back well and tipped it around the post.

Mayers, the other ex-Celt on the pitch, also still had the moves, albeit slower ones! He got a couple of rifled shots from outside the box, one of which Dootson had to tip onto the cross bar.

Keilthy made up for his early penalty mistake when Eastwood fed a fine reverse pass into the path of Foster. Foster beat Fish with the side foot, and Keilthy raced back to clear off the line. Moments later, it was Prior's turn to make a saving clearance as Potts' reverse shot looked destined to be deflected past Fish.

New face Paul Gedman came on at half time and proceeded to look strong. Indeed, it was he who set up Celtic's second goal, after racing the ball down the wing, and cutting into the box leaving his marker trailing. He looked like he might shoot, but instead squared it to Eastwood who side footed it home just beyond Fish, and through the legs of J ones.

Immediately, Gaynor repeated the move for Hyde, but he did shoot, and Dootson saved well, but the rebound fell kindly to Tolson, and he walked it into the net.

Hyde got a series of corners for the next half an hour or so, but the game was effectively over, and Miller decided to throw on a few substitutions over the last quarter of an hour, first Brickell came on for Eastwood, along with Hooper who had gone off for Gedman to come on. Then Bowman was replaced by Woods, and Wharton by Norton. However, Bowman came back on so Bowker could come off, but Bowker almost immediately came back on, to replace German who'd got injured blocking a Hyde shot.

Hyde made there own subs as well, one of whom didn't have a number on his shirt, and could have been from the crowd!

In the last minute of the game, Celtic held the ball in the corner, won a corner, then a free kick. Gedman whipped in the ball and Brickell shinned it over the bar from close range.

The referee had seen enough.

Celtic had retained the shield.

The second half was difficult to judge with all the substitutions, and precious little happened for basically half an hour as Celtic cantered along. They did enough, and are beginning to be prepared for the season that starts in a ten days!