Vs: Penrhiwceiber Rangers (R2)
Match Type: League Cup (A)
Date: 22-08-2017 18:30
Celtic travelled to Glasbrook Field under no illusions that this would be a tough assignment, 3rd Division Rangers having beaten 1st Division Monmouth Town in the 1st round last week. Celtic rested defenders Rhys Williams and Richard Crees and brought in the returning Luke Jones (a great re-signing for the club) and Curtis Meaney who last played a competitive match for the 1sts in October 2009 having made his Welsh League debut in Celtic’s inaugural season in 2005, making him the club’s longest serving WL player. Rakesh Patel captained Celtic in the absence of Rhys Williams.
Celtic got off to a great start, Rakesh Patel putting a fine through ball into the path of Josh Bull who resisted the temptation to put his head down and go for goal, instead slotting a pass into the middle where Dominic Connor, in acres of space, drove the ball high into the net. Celtic one up on 7 minutes. Celtic continued to force the pace and won a corner in the 14th minute which was cleared upfield. Joe Jenkins fastened onto the ball, rounded keeper Lewis Watkins and bore in on the empty goal only to be unceremoniously dumped by a desperate tackle from Adrian Maguire which stopped a certain goal. Skipper Lance Evans took the spot kick but Watkins guessed correctly and made a fine diving save to push the ball away for a corner. Celtic failed to learn the lesson to be alert for the quick breakaway because on 20 minutes their attack was broken up and the ball whipped upfield and this time Jason Hatch was unmarked to put a fine strike into the Celtic net to level the score.
Lloyd Kinsella was showing impressive energy in the middle of the park and he brought a fine diving save from keeper Rhys Meredith. He was also involved in Celtic’s next chance feeding Connor whose cross was headed wide by Bull from a good position. For Ceiber Jenkins had 2 shots saved by Watkins and he headed another chance wide. In time added on Maguire put Bull in but he was denied by a great save from Meredith.
Half time: Penrhiwceiber 1 Celtic 1
Spike Baugh replaced Iolo Jones for the 2nd half and Celtic started to dominate the game. A thunder shot from Kinsella was blocked. Callum Wakeham playing in midfield, passed to Connor whose cross was met by Bull who brought yet another brilliant save from the keeper. In the 54th minute there was a comical moment when, after a stoppage for an injury to a Ceiber player, Josh Bull punted the re-start all of 40 yards back to the keeper only to see the ball dip over his head and into the net. The referee sensibly told Josh to re-take the kick.
In the 63rd minute Celtic took the lead. Wakeham played the ball up to Bull down the left, the striker played the ball back into Callum’s path and the teenager placed the ball into the corner of the net. In the 69th minute Celtic should have scored a third goal. Bull put Kinsella clean through but instead of drawing the keeper and shooting, Lloyd passed the ball across the goal but too far in front of Bull and the chance went begging. Ceiber took confidence from this let-off and from a corner which was cleared by Celtic, Brandon Hill was inches wide with a screamer which had Watkins beaten. On 79 minutes Spike Baugh was booked for a robust challenge. On 80 minutes Tom Haggett replaced Wakeham and the substitute was quickly into the action with a deft back-heel into the path of Maguire who was flattened in the penalty area by a Ceiber challenge, the referee waving play on. In the closing minutes the home side drove forward and were desperately unlucky not to equalise when, after two shots had been blocked, Hatch hit the post, the ball bouncing away to safety.
Full time: Penrhiwceiber 1 Celtic 2
Celtic deserved their win despite the plucky performance from the hosts. Man of the match Josh Bull made the difference, showing great skill and pace and laying on both of the goals when on another day he might have chosen to go route one. He has started the season well, being involved in all 4 goals thus far with 2 goals and 2 assists. Luke Jones and Meaney both fitted in well at the back. Kinsella had a good first hour in midfield and Connor supported lone striker Bull well with his direct running. Celtic fancy their chances in the League Cup and are into the last 16 for only the 3rd time in 13 seasons.
Stats: Celtic: corners 8 shots on target 7 off 4; Ceiber: corners 2 shots on target 7 off 7.