Match Report -
Celtic take first home win
By Iain Benson
Celtic maintained their unbeaten run and gained their first home victory of the campaign. Two wins, three draws and nine points.

In truth, Celtic were not convincing, but enough was done. Ellington led the front line, hoping to add to his last goal, and in the first minute won a corner that Keeling couldn?t quite convert with Bartlett in the Blyth nets beating him to the ball. This was followed by Liam Gildea muscling his way through the Celtic defence, though he was pushed wider and wider, eventually feeding his brother, Alex, who?s shot was deflected for a corner. Hedley got his head on the corner, but shot wide.

The game was even, with neither side sparkling, but Celtic fashioned a goal from somewhere when Sykes started a move that culminated in Winn receiving the ball at the edge of the area which he curled towards goal, Sykes or Williams (for Blyth) got a telling deflection that put the ball beyond Bartlett?s reach, but Winn claims the goal.

Smiles didn?t last long as Liam Gildea again used his presence to battle through the Celtic rear-guard, seeing his shot stopped by Black and half cleared by Buxton. The ball fell to Hedley and Buxton did well to block the shot, but was helpless when Alex Gildea arrived to hammer the ball home. Moments later, it should have been 2-1 to the visitors. Buxton?s punch off a free kick fell to Liam Gildea at the edge of the box, but he scandalously wasted the opportunity by shooting wide.

Good defending by the visitors kept the scores level when Sykes? shot from an angle was cleared off the line by Leeson, but there was no stopping Celtic?s second goal when Sykes won the ball in midfield, rode the challenges and then fed the ball into the path of Brodie who took the glory with a low-struck shot that Bartlett had no chance of reaching.

Just before half time, Hedley tried a speculative shot from distance, but it was straight at Buxton, which was fortunate, as the Celtic keeper had earlier hurt his hand, and was replaced in the interval by Pettinger.

Sykes was then thwarted a second time, this time by Hedley after Maxfield?s corner was nodded on by Hume, and Hedley blocked Sykes? header on the line. Celtic were playing better in the second half, but Blyth nearly equalised, but for Pettinger who staked a claim for a starting position. After Black had obstructed Hedley at the edge of the box, Pettinger pushed the free kick onto his bar, before blocking Leeson point blank on a corner. The ball was put back in, and Liam Gildea got behind the defence. Pettinger had come a long way and Gildea tried to loop a header over him, only for Pettinger to pull off the save of the match.

Bartlett was no slouch either, after Sykes beat the off side trap and pulled the ball back to Ellington, only a sharp instinctive block from the visiting keeper denied Ellington. There was nothing he could do moments later when Maxfield cut into the box, struck a low shot that Bartlett did block, only for it to come back to Maxfield; he didn?t hesitate blasting it into the unprotected net.

With only minutes on the clock, Blyth upped their game, despite looking tired, and in the first minute of stoppage time, Bell waded through the Celtic defence to go one-on-one with Pettinger, who got a hand to his thunderous shot, but not enough to keep it out. This galvanised the Spartans even more, and Celtic were hanging on through the remaining three minutes of stoppage time.

But hang on we did, and Celtic now go into the Workington game five games unbeaten.

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