Match Report -
Witton win the Cheshire Senior Cup
By Iain Benson
Celtic failed to lift the Cheshire Senior cup after being beaten by a more determined Witton side that defended well, and took their chances with aplomb.

Celtic started well enough, getting among the Witton defence, Banim neatly unlocking it freeing Ellington, but under pressure from Pritchard, Ellington scooted his shot wide. Witton?s opener was a cross across the face from Whittaker to his strike partner Moseley, but Maxfield did enough to keep Pettinger from making a save. Prince came close cutting in from an angle, but his curling shot was narrowly over.

Celtic?s best chances of the half came after Prince had been fouled. The ball was put across the six yard box, and Keeling came steaming in, throwing himself at the ball at the back post, and his header clipped the post on the way into the side netting with Walker in the Witton goals beaten. Price then won a corner from nothing out of Brownhill. Witton cleared only as far as Prince who blasted the ball back into the box, with Ellington acting as an unwitting defender as it smacked into him on its way to the back of the goal.

Banim was fouled on the edge of the box by Jones. It was taken short to Garvey who smacked it towards the top corner, Brownhill didn?t know much about his block, though his nose did! From the corner, Banim was brought down just outside the box, but play was waved on and a long punt up field freed Moseley who snapped off an excellent shot requiring an excellent save from Pettinger. Whittaker took advantage of a slip from Black to go one-on-one with Pettinger, he curled his shot around him, and it came back off the post. Witton were threatening.

Maxfield was penalised for a soft looking foul near the corner flag, it looked like he?d made amends by blocking the free kick at the expense of a corner, but from the corner, Jones got the decisive touch to bundle the ball into the back of the net.

Celtic went looking for an equaliser, and Banim won a free kick on the edge of the box, but Prince put the ball over the bar, and the half ran out of time.

The second half started promisingly, Garvey made some space at the edge of the box, but put his shot right into the midriff of Walker. Ellington put through Kharas (on for Banim), as he was pulling the trigger, Spearitt made an excellent sliding tackle to take the ball of his toes. Eastwood (on for Garvey) whipped a superb cross in for Ellington coming in at the back post, but Brownhill cut across and headed off the line from a seemingly impossible angle. Ellington then made a yard of space with instant control off Black?s cross, but put his shot right into the centre of the goal where Walker stood.

With Celtic committed forward, a few quick passes moved the ball from the Witton end to the undermanned Celtic rear-guard. Bailey?s ball into the six yard box required only a touch from Moseley to guide it past Pettinger and give the Unibond side a two goal advantage. Barnard, who?d lost Bailey prior to the cross, was subbed off with concussion from an earlier incident, and Atkins came on to replace him, moving Keeling into the back four.

Atkins immediately got a chance after Eastwood was fouled, but Walker judged the flight of the ball well, and punched clear. A long throw to Kharas saw him turn to make space and shoot, only to see Brownhill on the line again to keep Celtic out. Several players attempted to force the ball over the line, but some great defending kept Celtic out, until Eastwood?s curling shot over the bar relieved the pressure. Atkins carved out a forty-yard pass right onto Kharas? forehead, only to see Walker in exactly the right place to ensure it went no further. Atkins tried it again with another superb ball, Kharas flicked the ball towards the far bottom corner and Walker was forced into a full length diving save tipping the ball out for a corner with his fingernails.

Eastwood tried a shot from the edge of the box; another great save from Walker saw the ball spin up into the air. Kharas and Spearitt both went for the loose ball, with the Witton man just edging it, putting the ball over his own bar. Under pressure, Burke tried to head back to his keeper who was forced to tip it around the post for another corner. The corner came to Eastwood who half volleyed, only for Pritchard to intercept and head over his own bar. Maxfield slid the ball through to Kharas, he took it around Walker, but the Witton keeper had forced him too far wide, Kharas somehow wrapped his foot around the ball, but his shot ricocheted off the post.

With seconds left on the clock, Eastwood had just enough space for a shot, but it was straight at Walker, and that was it.

The last fifteen minutes saw Celtic have concerted pressure, but it was too little, far too late.

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