Vs: Afan Lido
Match Type: League (A)
Date: 09-09-2017 14:30
Celtic have never won at Afan Lido and they were not able to change that with this mediocre performance. Recent games between the two sides have been totally one-sided: 4-0 to Afan Lido and 6-0 to Celtic last season and now this 5-0 drubbing. Celtic’s reporter remarked to fellow supporters before the game that you never know which Afan team is going to turn up. This after all was a side which lost their opening home game this season by 6-1. Luckily for the hosts, on the day they had a supreme match winner in striker Mark Jones.
Celtic welcomed back Lloyd Kinsella, Owen Cook and Josh Bull who replaced the absent Rakesh Patel and Dominic Connor with Iolo Jones dropping to the bench. Manager Lee Challenger chose to play captain Rhys Williams at right back with Andrew Larcombe and Luke Jones in the middle of the defence. Lido fashioned the first chance, a weak header by Sean Hanbury straight at Dibble. James Young shot over the bar but Lido were on top, forcing 3 corners and a weak header wide by player manager Liam McCreesh.
The next chance, on 27 minutes, resulted in the opening goal. Sacha Walters left Larcombe for dead down the right flank and his cross found the unmarked Jones who had the simplest header into the unguarded net. Celtic responded with an effort from Bull flying high over the bar. The heavens opened but that did not deter Lido who on 38 minutes went two up, a long ball from defence dropping perfectly over the Celtic defence for Jones to outpace Larcombe and stride in on goal and pick his spot.
Jones had a chance to complete a first half treble but he fired his shot high over the bar and the final play of the half was a cross come shot by full back Cai Owens which skidded just wide of Dibble’s right post.
Half time: Afan Lido 2 Celtic 0
The 2nd half opened with Owen Cook getting a yellow card for retaliation. After 3 sendings off last season one would think he would learn. He was so lucky this was not a red. Celtic had the first chance of the half, Kinsella’s cross headed over by Bull. Celtic’s midfield had not been firing all match so it was no surprise that Iolo Jones replaced Lee Penry on the hour. A Kinsella free kick was cleared to Bull who shot just wide.
On 58 minutes Lido went 3 up. A through ball to Jones was blocked by Dibble but the loose ball fell to Lido with Walters on the right flank smashing the resultant cross into the net from close range. Celtic were on the rack and three minutes later it was 4-0 when a poor Dibble clearance found Jones who stroked the ball home for his hat-trick. Josh Doyle shot wide but on 64 minutes Lido were 5 up, Jones turning provider with a run down the right and a cross for Elliot Thomas to convert.
Adrian Maguire replaced Cook as Lido continued to forge chances, Thomas shooting high and wide and then shooting straight at the keeper. In the last 10 minutes Celtic suddenly came to life. A long ball found Bull who rounded the keeper and placed the ball towards the empty net but with insufficient weight and Craig Davies made a superb lunging stop on the line to concede the first of 2 Celtic corners. Lido should have scored again when substitute Ashed was clean through but a superb last ditch intervention by Larcombe saved the day. Kinsella shot a free kick way over the bar and the referee’s whistle put an end to Celtic’s afternoon of torture.
Full time: Afan Lido 5 Celtic 0
This was Celtic’s poorest display for several seasons. Their capitulation to concede 5 goals in 37 minutes in the middle part of the game was disappointing to put it mildly. The switching of Rhys Williams to the right side of defence did not work as the Celtic back four was ripped apart at will during the 5 goal barrage. Celtic’s midfield of Cook, Penry and Young have all been handicapped by injury thus far this season and they all looked to be off the pace. Kinsella looked sharp going forward but, coming from deep on the right, his forays were few. Despite having a meagre service Josh Bull did manage a few shots including the solitary effort on target. Curtis in the Lido goal did not have a save to make which sums up Celtic’s impotency in attack.
One hopes that this was a one off bad day at the office. There is a silver lining on the horizon for Celtic with Chris Ham set to return from his year long stint at English club Westfields to add much needed punch to the attack provided the hapless FAW eventually gets round to completing his registration.
Man of the match: The consensus from the supporters was that there was no candidate worthy of the award.
STATS: Celtic: shots on target 1 off target 5 Corners 2; Afan Lido: shots on target 10 off 5 Corners 3
Ref watch: Owain Phillips was a fussy ref, blowing up at times for the most minimal of contacts, no doubt feeling the pressure of a FAW assessor on the ground. At least he was consistent in equally penalising both sides.