Match Report -
Round 1 - honours even
By Iain Benson
If Celtic had held on for 240 seconds more, they would have come away with all 3 points, though in fairness, a draw is probably the right result, with both teams having as much of the ball as each other, and Droylsden created slightly better chances. It was a tale of two solid defences, and it was always going to be individual errors that allowed goals to be conceded.

Celtic gave away a lot of free kicks around the box, starting straight away when Maxfield was booked for a late challenge on ex-Celt Denham. The free kick was mopped up by Hara and Kilbane, before Prince won a corner at the other end that Keeling headed goalwards, only for Phillips in the visiting defence to catch comfortably. Ellington was brought down mid-flight by Denham, but Prince had picked the ball up on the half way line and advantage was played, though Prince blazed over as he reached the edge of the box.

Droylsden?s best chance of the half came when Barnard fouled Denham, and Fearn?s free kick was half cleared as far as Ruffer, his shot was pushed onto the post by Pettinger and Kilbane cleared. A moment of ball watching in the Celtic defence allowed Denham to test Pettinger?s alertness right before half time, though the ball lacked pace and Pettinger smothered.

The second half saw Garvey beat the deep offside trap and as Phillips raced out, Garvey lobbed him, but put the ball wide. Sykes then won a corner out of Williams, and the routine saw Haran head Garvey?s cross narrowly wide, but Haran had been allowed to sneak in unmarked.

Droylsden answered by forcing a superb save from Pettinger, close range off a Kilbane conceded corner, blocking Rapley?s effort. Another corner for Celtic saw Ellington sneak in unmarked this time on the near post corner, and with Phillips beaten, it required quick reactions from Sturdy to block and clear on the line. As tiredness set in, it was only a matter of time before one team would score, and it looked like it might be Droylsden when Denham freed Fearns with a ball across the face, but Pettinger pushed it away off his feet.

Instead, it was Celtic who scored, an Eastwood (on for Sykes who looked to be heading for a second booking) won corner and Haran was again unmarked, this time his header didn?t go wide, thumping into the top corner. Droylsden threw everything on and the Celtic defence was put under tremendous pressure, but Kilbane, Haran, Keeling and Barnard were coping.

With one minute of normal time remaining, a loose ball from Garvey was gobbled up by Morris and substitute Fitzpatrick turned Keeling to open up a slight chink which he used to rifle a shot across Pettinger and into the far corner.

Right at the death, deep into stoppage time, Morris had the chance to snatch all the points when he shot from distance, and while Pettinger had it covered, it was always going wide.

It was a tough, competitive match, but Celtic get another bite of the cherry next week in the Trophy.

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