From the off it was the visitors who were the more comfortable, and as Torpey unleashed a low drive Crane parried it into the path of Joynes who forced Crane into a double save inside the first minute, the rebound fell to Platt who saw his shot blocked on the line, but he was offside anyway.
Celtic were moving the ball around well, leaving Solihull with little room, and it was some tenacious play from Joynes that earned Celtic the lead. He latched onto a superb ball from Battersby and took it around Crane who flailed at Joynes legs, but fortunately for the keeper failed to make contact. Joynes had gone too wide for a shot himself, instead cleverly lifting the ball over everybody to Platt coming at the back post for a thumping header that gave the move the goal it deserved.
It could have been two almost immediately, but Torpey's shot was blocked at the edge of the box with the keeper well beaten. Battersby found himself unmarked with the ball at his feet in the corner of the box, but blazed narrowly over the bar, and Joynes smashed half volley on the run went only narrowly past the upright. Celtic had a cast iron penalty waved away because none of the officials saw it. After laying a superb ball across the face, Joynes was flattened by Travis inside the box, but the officials had watched the ball, expecting Torpey to stroll in and tap it home, but Torpey had been expecting a whistle for the penalty and had not continued his run.
A second goal was coming though, and it was another header. A Woolliscroft whipped in ball to the near post flat footed the home defence, and Barlow steered the ball into the back of the net.
Solihull came alive a little more after the second goal, and Rickards has got to ask how he didn't score. He got beyond the defence, Phillips came out, and the Solihull man rounded the Celtic keeper, but from a long way out and an acute angle, found Smart on the line to bring the ball away. Solihull had a free kick at the edge of the box right before the interval, which McPike took: curling it a long way around the wall, but Phillips took it at a canter.
After the interval, Joynes would have added Celtic's thirds within moments of the whistle, but Barlow could not get his backside out of the way quickly enough, and provided some defence for the home team.
As the temperature dropped, the game slowed and became disjointed, Battersby's drive off a Barlow lay off the only save Crane had to make in the second half, having been far busier in the first. At the other end, the stats will show Phillips was the busier keeper, but he barely had to move to catch efforts from Chambers and McPike that were more hopeful than dangerous.
With just over then minutes left, the crowd got a warming boost when fans favourite Sykes returned to the field, played up front along side Barlow he very quickly got stuck in, though the closest Celtic came was off a couple of free kicks towards the end that Keeling headed over the bar.
Weather permitting, Celtic are back at the Fold on Tuesday night for their first home game since November the 8th.
|9||McPike, James||> 78|
|11||Daly, Adam||> 78|
|14||Price, Alex||< 78|
|15||Dempster, Ross||< 78|