Celtic capped off a fine season by giving Redditch a second half footballing lesson, maintaining the 100% record over the Midland outfit in the process.
The start of the second half was not much to write home about, and it looked like Celtic would be playing out the last game of the season at a canter, easily nullifying Redditch, but not really probing at the Redditch end. The attitude started to change about twenty minutes in with Meechan and Winn suddenly making in roads behind the Redditch defence. Winn had a couple of efforts zip over the bar whilst Celtic's full backs both had efforts across the face of goal.
The opening came in the last ten minutes of the half. A foul on Dean was floated in and put out for a corner by Rickards. Redditch didn't deal with the corner, clearing it as far as Barwick who found Ellington still in the box. Ellington did very well to get to the touchline and pull the ball back for Payne, still stood in the six yard box, for the simplest of finishes to start the Celtic ball rolling. Dean then avoided the challenge outside the box and advanced towards Lewis in the visiting goals. With Meechan coming in from the other wing, the Redditch keeper was outnumbered, and in two minds where to position himself ? in the end, he stranded himself, and Dean slotted coolly in the near post.
There was still time in the half for another Celtic corner, and Payne's thumping header was blocked on the line by Dickenson.
Redditch must have received a roasting in the dressing room, because they started the second half well, though Edwards? weak effort barely roused Gamble as he scooped up Redditch's only shot on target all game.
Then it was the turn of Celtic to show how football should be played. Redditch were left chasing shadows as the ball was moved around the pitch, play switched and stretched leaving the Redditch defence all at sea, and when Meechan won a corner, again Redditch couldn't deal, and the ball came to Ellington, sat on the six yard line, and still with the presence of mind to scissor kick the ball into the net. Meechan could have made it four after a sensational move that saw the ball cross the park twice before a diagonal ball from Dean right into Meechan's path was struck sweet and low, but Lewis pulled off a great save to deny him.
Dean and Ellington were combining well and chance after chance fell to them, a Dean thunderous effort from the edge of the box should have made it four as it crashed past the post.
With quarter of an hour to go, and minds drifting to Wednesday's match away at Southport, changes were made. One of the changes was the introduction of Torpey. Torpey adopted his position, made a run into the box, was seen by Dean and given a perfectly weighted ball that allowed him to strike a curling low shot past Lewis and make it four nil with his first touch seconds after coming on.
His second touch could also have been a goal, as he struck the ball low from the edge of the area, but Lewis made the save. There was nothing Lewis could do moments later as Dean collected the ball out wide, evaded Dickinson's lunging tackle, and came into the box. With a queue of Celtic shirts to aim at, Dean surprised everybody with a curling drive into the bottom corner of the net.
Dean could have had a hat-trick five minutes from time, but instead lifted the ball to Ellington running in and Ellington marked his return to fitness with a brace of goals.
The result, coupled with wins for the other play off contenders means a trip to Southport for the first leg of play off semi finals.
Pictures courtesy of Jamie Hall
|7||Forinton, Howard||> 74|
|12||Heggs, Carl||< 74|