A great start to the new campaign
Vanarama Conference North
Sat, 14th August
Redditch continued to come unstuck against Celtic as a classy show from Harvey's boys proved too much.
Both sides started at pace, with Redditch's first effort coming in their first attack, but they met a stonewall Celtic defence, Laquan Esdaille getting across and blocking Jamie Haynes's thirty yard effort at the expense of a corner that Celtic's latest keeper signing, Jan Budtz claimed in a crowd. After a foul on Jody Banim, Banim floated the free kick in, Esdaille reached it at the back post heading it back into play, for Kristian Platt to nod goalwards only for the crossbar to deny him, the rebound came to Phil Marsh and he opened his and Celtic's account for the season with a headed goal over and around the massed defenders on the Redditch line.
Moments later and Merlon Walters brought down Jody Banim as he ran through the box, no question about it, it was a penalty. Banim took the penalty and sent Jake Meridith the wrong way with a well struck penalty.
It could have been three to the good but for some excellent keeping from Meredith as Banim's inswinging corner was met by the head of Marsh, the ball coming out to Craig Hobson, close range Meredith readjusted himself and made the second save with Connor Jennings stretching and sending his shot wide. Just before half time, Jennings was on target with a low effort, but lacked the power.
Celtic started the second half looking equally in charge, and almost from the off, a curling effort from the edge of the box was over the bar, before Jennings battled through the middle with the Redditch defenders hassling him making his shot difficult, and he almost snuck it under Meredith, but the Redditch keeper got enough on the ball to deny him. With Celtic content to play a possession game, Redditch had to resort to trying to capitalise on mistakes, Marco Addagio and Jamie Haynes both pounced on underhit passes at the back, with Addagio coming the closest sliding in at the back post.
Celtic were reduced to ten men when Craig Hobson followed up a foul with a kick on Jordan Fitzpatrick, and saw red. Despite playing out the last fifteen minutes with a man less, Celtic never looked like losing, and played a possession game that left Reddditch without any more chances but a hopeful forty-yard effort from fullback Josh Quaynor.
All in all it was a comprehensive performance that bodes well for the season.