Match Report -
Roca bags the points
By Iain Benson
Celtic started the match at top speed, and could have had four goals before the midpoint of the half, but were only a goal to the good at half time. A lapse of concentration early in the second half saw Leigh pull level, before Celtic got back on top and finished as strong as they started.

Before Leigh were out of the dressing room Hall had gone close, and it wasn't long before Barwick nodded down Sykes's lob into the path of Ellington. Ellington's first touch was superb to put him one-on-one with Lamb, and he made no mistake pushing the ball past the visiting keeper and in off the post. Brockley then had to be on his toes when Barlow was fouled just outside the box, Burbeary put in a good free kick; with Barlow sneaking in at the back post, Brockley got there first to put it out for a corner.

Celtic then got a penalty. Ellington put the ball into the path of Hall who raced past Ellison. Ellison latched onto Hall and dragged him to the floor, earning a penalty but no yellow card. It worked though, for Lamb pulled off a good penalty stop, and then topped that with an even better stop from Burbeary who smacked in the rebound. Ellison's card came just seconds later when he scythed Ellington down just outside the box, making no play for the ball. The free kick was half cleared, and Sykes lobbed it back in towards the top corner, but Lamb got across and pushed it out. Ellington could have then doubled his tally when a forty-yard diagonal pass from Smart was taken into his stride and curled first time past Lamb, only to hit the inside of the post. With Hall bearing down, Lamb did really well to turn and catch the rebounded ball.

Burbeary then fed the ball across the face of the box to Ellington, he let it drift across his body before unleashing a powerful low drive that went narrowly wide with Lamb a mere spectator. Brockley was there again when Barlow switched the play to Burbeary, one touch put Burbeary through, but Brockley slid in with a great sliding tackle. The corner was cleared as far as Haran in the centre circle. He lobbed it back into the box, it bounced in a difficult place for Lamb, and he ha to be acrobatic to tip it over his bar. Barlow and Ellington linked up well, but Ellington's shot was hacked clear by Ellison as far as Barwick who smacked a swerving shot straight back in that Lamb did well to track and catch.

When the half time whistle came, it was astounding that Celtic only led by one goal.

There were high hopes for the second half, but Willis was allowed the freedom of the pitch to race towards goal, it wasn't until he was already in the box before Barwick attempted to dispossess him, got all of the player and none of the ball. Rapley took the penalty and scored, putting the ball top right.

Celtic tried to immediately restore the lead, when Roscoe conceded a corner off Barlow, which Dudgeon headed top corner, only for Lamb to make a good save. From another corner, first Sykes was pulled out of the air, and then Ellington was hauled off his feet, but with no penalty forthcoming Ellington had the presence of mind to try and knock the ball in, but lying on his back he couldn't get the power to divert the ball in.

Leigh could then have taken the lead, when Haran conceded a corner that was cleared as far as Charnock who volleyed back in a forty yard shot that thudded against the cross bar. Celtic upped a gear and Ellington raced away from his marker and slid the ball into the path of Hall, Brockley slid to intercept but couldn't make it allowing Hall to go one-on-one, he took a snap shot and saw a very good save deny him. Sykes then did get the ball into the net off a Celtic corner, only for the referee to spot something and nothing in the box, and rule the goal off for a foul only he saw. Ellison fouled Ellington just outside the box, Smart's free kick failed to get over the wall and went for a corner. Dudgeon headed goal-ward, but Unsworth intercepted and conceded a second corner.

Ellison seemed immune since his booking, and clearly handled Sykes's flicked header in the box, lifting it with his forearm away from Hall, but nothing was given.

Roca's introduction had happened quietly, but in the last ten minutes, he exploded. It started with a forty yard pass to Ellington's forehead that somehow Lamb got across to block point blank. Roca followed this up by sneaking in at the far post onto an Ellington through ball, Lamb adjusted, but could do nothing but watch as the ball was curled into his top corner to give Celtic the lead.

To prove it wasn't a fluke, when Ellington slid the ball into the box, Brockley again slid and missed the intercept, allowing Roca to go one-on-one with Lamb, he feigned another curled before sliding the ball into the bottom corner. It could have been a two minute hat-trick for Roca when Sykes flicked on a long throw and his volley was tipped acrobatically away from the top corner by Lamb.

There was no more time for Roca to complete his hat-trick, but he had got Celtic their first home win of the campaign.

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