Match Report -
Payne Brace as Celtic Dominate
By Iain Benson
Celtic were without Haran and Dudgeon at the heart of the defence, with Sykes and Keeling filling in.

The first half of this match was even, as Celtic struggled to make headway. Indeed, the first move of the match came from the home team, as Furlong was dispossessed, the loose ball coming out to Moogan who fired over the bar.

It was to be a rare foray into the Celtic half though, as visitors camped in their opponents half. Burbeary tried to show boat from the off when he received the ball on the penalty spot, with his back to goal, he tried to flick it over his shoulder, putting the ball well over the bar. Winn tested Lake in the Motormen goal quarter of an hour in, riding robust challenges to get to the edge of the box, and Lake had to be at full stretch plus some to reach the ball.

A distance shot form Furlong lacked the power to test Gamble, but did give Celtic a warning as they had let the striker have a sight of goal. It was a warning they should have heeded, for moments later, a lofted ball over the top was chased down by Taylor who out paced Keeling to go one-on-one with Gamble, and managed to squeeze the ball into the narrowest of gaps across Gamble's goal in at the far post. Despite having the pressure, Celtic were behind.

Smart really should have equalised after Hall used his strength to hold off some heavy challenges before slipping the ball to him, unmarked at the edge of the box, but he fired well over. Vauxhall were riding their luck a little, and a Hall floated cross was fumbled and dropped by Lake under no pressure. Fortunately, out of the three players at the back post, it fell to Moogan who hacked clear, had it fallen to Burbeary or Barlow, it would have been a goal.

Celtic finally equalised with the two Ashleys combining to expose the Vauxhall defence. Burbeary swept in from the wing and sucked two defenders too him, Winn was left unmarked in the middle, and Burbeary's perfectly weighted ball was right into his stride. Lake came off his line a bit too hesitantly, and was left stranded in no man's land when Winn lifted the ball over him and into the net with a lovely lob.

Celtic continued to press, and despite a distance shot from Furlong going wide, all the play was in the Vauxhall attacking third. Barlow won a corner out of Moogan, and Burbeary fired it in, the box was crowded, but Payne snuck in at the back post, completely unmarked, and had the simplest of headers, placing the ball into the bottom corner to give Celtic a half time lead.

The second half started badly for Celtic, Barlow tracking back after Keeling had been out paced by Johnson, he slid in, looked to have got the ball, but low, for the sixth time this season: a penalty. And for the third time this season, it allowed the opponents to equalise, Furlong putting it into the top right corner.

It wasn't long before Celtic were back in front though. Burbeary floated in a free kick, Ellington nodded it back across to Payne, who stroked the ball into the bottom corner with aplomb. Celtic could have had another to add to their collection, again Ellington was the provider, sliding the ball through the box, Hall slid in and missed, Lake couldn't reach it and Barlow at the back post was denied by a sliding tackle from Holmes. Lake got his hand on something as he tipped Burbeary's powerful shot over the bar, and it must have been slightly annoying when the referee gave it as a goal-kick!

Holmes fouled Ellington by the touchline, just outside the box. Burbeary put it in, Hall met it in the centre of goal, and guided his header past Lake, who did manage to get a palm to it, but not enough to keep it out to give Celtic a two goal cushion.

Roca came on for Winn, who was on a yellow card, and Ellington got him immediately involved with an excellent through ball that invited a shot, and Roca didn't disappoint, curling it to the back post, forcing Lake into a good stop, deserving a bit of luck on the follow-up from Barlow who was denied by McMahon.

Burbeary deserved a goal when he demonstrated his quick feet and deft turns to avoid half a dozen Vauxhall defenders and get into a shooting position, but his shot at the end was poor and wide. An Ellington powerful shot was sliced by the foot of Lake narrowly past his own post. Off the corner, Payne sneaked in again, but selflessly provided Barlow with an easy chance to nod the ball into the back of the net to give Celtic a convincing score-line.

Smith should have pulled one back for Vauxhall, when Garrity's floated ball found him on the six yard line with only Gamble to beat, but his header went well over. With time running out Wright tried a distance shot, but it was straight at Gamble.

In truth, Vauxhall are going to be one of the strugglers this season. Their work rate is good, but their defence is sadly lacking any kind of cohesion.