Match Report -
Princely penalties
By Iain Benson
It took Celtic a while to get into this game, but when they did they played exceptional football, but up until then, it was Celtic that were chasing shadows.

Barker was a handful for the whole defence and pulled a good stop out of Buxton in the opening exchanges, with Wharton and Prince both forcing Frederici in the visitor?s nets into two necessary but straightforward saves.

It was Barker, therefore, who opened the scoring when a mix-up between Murcott and Keeling allowed him to latch onto the loose ball and go one-on-one with Buxton. The Celtic keeper had no time to prepare as Buxton took the shot beyond Buxton into the bottom corner.

Blackburn looked to be going onto control the game, but Wharton took hold of the game, and got a free kick that gave Parr a chance to head home, with Stopforth blocking for a corner. Again Parr was there, his header blocked on the line by Kane, and the second corner was flicked by Keeling to Murcott, who headed just over.

Parr freed the live wire Turley who cut straight into the box; Welch slid in, missed the ball and took Turley?s legs: penalty. Ellington stepped up and Frederici made a good stop, spilling the ball. Prince was the first to react, lifting the ball over Frederici to even the score.

Another defensive error allowed Blackburn to go in at half time one up, though. Caldecott?s cross to Wharton just inside the box, Wharton?s clearance took a deflection landing fortuitously at Barker?s feet who reacted well, slotting home.

At the start of the second half, through, Celtic were back on level terms when Turley burst past Woods only to be pulled down inside the box. The referee gave a second penalty that Prince took himself, putting it away at the first attempt. Within quarter of an hour, Celtic were in the lead. A ball over the top from Turley was battled for by Eastwood. He won it, beat a second defender and blasted the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the box, a vintage Eastwood goal. A bigger gap could have been opened, but with time and space, Turley pulled a shot wide, and Sykes headed narrowly wide off a Prince corner.

Blackburn tried to get back on level turns, with Welch showing good body strength against Sykes, but shooting straight at Buxton. Savali did better, twisting inside the box, and producing a good block on the line by Black. The best chance of the game fell to Dawe. Barker pulled the ball back to him, unmarked at the edge of the box. He had the time and space to pick the exact hoarding beside the goal he would hit.

Again, it was encouraging to see the fitness and stamina shown by Celtic, more than matching their full time visitors. The same Blackburn side had won most of their previously friendlies, including a six-nil thumping of Ashton United.

Celtic line-up: Buxton, Parr, Caldecott (Black), Keeling, Murcott (Sykes), Wharton (Eastwood), Turley (Caldecott), Willis (B Smith), Ellington (Mulvaney), Mulvaney (S Smith), Prince
Unused Subs: Barnard

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