Match Report -
Celtic held to a 2-2 draw
By Iain Benson
Celtic will be kicking themselves for not finishing Hinckley off in the first half when they were clearly the better team. Celtic were using the flanks well, with Smith and Prince tearing apart their respective fullbacks.

Smith opened up the defence twice before finding Brodie with a good ball that Brodie hurriedly hit towards goal, only for Bowles to save well down to his left. Smith couldn?t be contained, and he danced by three lunging tackles before putting a low cross into the box for Ellington, with two defenders at his back he pushed it out to Brodie at the edge of the box and he had the time to compose himself for a rocket of a shot that Bowles could get nowhere near.

A few minutes later, Prince got a glorious opportunity, after Smith had again embarrassed the Hinckley back line keeping to his feet despite a lunge from Love, he put the ball across the box to Prince running in, and this time Prince made no mistake with a sweet strike that curled into the top corner to give Celtic a two goal cushion.

Ellington then tried to set up Prince, but Prince, one-on-one with Bowles shot straight at the Hinckley number-one. Ellington and Brodie interchanged to leave the Hinckley defence all over the shop, and Ellington found Krief unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box, but Celtic?s newest recruit scuffed his shot giving Bowles an easy take to keep the score 2-0 at the interval.

Hinckley came out looking the more determined of the two teams, and Celtic sat back allowing the visitors to come to them. Story was allowed free reign past Maxfield, and he put a superb low cross through the six yard box for Heggs sliding in at the back post, but he couldn?t make contact, and the ball zipped out. It was a warning that Celtic didn?t heed. Hume conceded a free kick some distance out, the ball floated in, and Jackson was there at the back post, unmarked for a simple nodded goal.

Hinckley got an equaliser after cataclysmic defending from Celtic. A ball into the box, prodded towards goal and cleared off the line, blocked on the line before it eventually fell to Jackson who toe-poked it over the line.

Hinckley looked the more likely to score, and Heggs should have done better off Story?s cross to the back post, but with Pettinger beaten, he headed wide.

Celtic had to do something, so they switched to 4-4-2, moving Hume up front. He almost had an immediate impact, dropping the ball to Ellington who pulled it back for Brodie, but his shot rose over the bar. Smith won a corner, and thought it was cleared, Sykes brought it back, cutting along the line and lofting it over the defence. Hume missed the header, and Parr tried to nod it back for Ellington, but Bowles leapt well to snatch the cross out of the air.

As the game opened up, Byron tried a forty yard shot that was dipping, and though it looped over Pettinger, it didn?t dip far enough to go in.

In the dying minutes, Celtic could have snatched it and avoided the replay on Monday night. Smith ripped through the defence and dropped the ball to Hume, who forced a sensational reaction save from Bowles punching the ball over his bar at the expense of a corner. Bowles topped the save from the corner. It was floated across by Krief to the back post where Hume got full bloodied contact on the ball, only to see Bowles scramble across and block with his legs and the scrambling Hinckley defence got the ball clear.

Thus, Celtic must travel to the Marston Stadium on a Monday night, with all the problems such a late arranged fixture will entail for the Celtic players who have day-jobs to consider as well. We have beaten Hinckley once this season at the Marston stadium, but it will require another Herculean effort from the Celtic players to progress into the next round.

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