Vs: Caerau Ely (R1)
Match Type: Welsh Cup (A)
Date: 07-10-2017 14:00
Celtic travelled to their Cardiff opponents for the 2nd time in a fortnight knowing to expect a much tougher game than on their last visit when they won at a canter 5-0 in the league. And so it proved. Nanah Bah’s team had done their homework on Celtic’s key players and the introduction of 5 newly signed players into their starting line up brought about a spirited display from the hosts. The stiff wind proved a big first half advantage to Caerau but Celtic likewise benefited after the break and with the game in time added on and extra time beckoning, Josh Bull strode through the middle to score the winner.
Celtic made one change, Jordan Dibble getting an outing between the sticks. The soft bumpy pitch made skilful football difficult but Caerau took advantage of the wind on their backs to forge early chances. Skipper Jerome Maynard headed a Maksimovic free kick wide and Nathan Mathias cut in from the left and beat the diving Dibble with a low drive which skimmed wide of the near post. Celtic’s sole reply was a soft lob by Josh Bull from a Lloyd Kinsella pass which was no trouble for keeper Ryan Fleming.
At times Celtic played some delightful football despite the difficult surface, with Simon Prangley prompting intelligently in midfield. He was not put off by a rough house tackle from right back Keane Thomas which earned the defender a yellow card. Richard Crees put Chris Ham down the left and his cross was headed wide by Bull who was ruled offside. On the half hour a long ball down the right brought a collision between the diving Dibble and Ajijeoidum which, astonishingly brought the attacker a yellow card when a lot of spectators were thinking the referee’s whistle was for a penalty.
Caerau continued to press. Mathias hit a 30 yarder wide. A long ball found Josh Maksimovic with a one on one on the keeper only for him to mis-kick with a clear chance beckoning. At the other end Owen Cook had the ball in the net but the ‘goal’ was ruled out because Bull was offside. James Young got a yellow for a foul challenge. Thomas blasted a free kick high over the bar. Ham played the ball to Kinsella who cut in from the right and shot just wide and over the bar. Yannick Neba headed a Mathias free kick over the bar. Celtic’s best chance of the half fell to Bull whose shot was blocked. The ball fell to Kinsella whose shot was also blocked and on the stroke of half time Ibby Sani’s free kick was deflected by a Celtic foot for Dibble to stop the ball going for a corner.
Half time: Caerau (Ely) 0 Celtic 0
From the off after the break Celtic proceeded to dominate the play. Bull and Kinsella had shots blocked. Ham fastened onto a loose ball in the middle of the park and strode forward to hit his shot wide. Neba was booked for a foul on Bull. Kinsella shot wide. Bull had three chances, the first turned away for a corner, the second and third comfortably saved by Fleming.
Caerau’s only chance of the half fell to Ajijeoidum who headed Maksimovics’ free kick wide as the linesman’s flag went up for offside. Prangley and Young worked the ball up to Kinsella who shot just over the bar. Crees’s ball into the box found the head of Bull whose shot was smothered by Fleming into the path of Cook who shot wide. Bull was getting plenty of the ball and his cross was palmed away by Fleming but no Celtic player was following up.
On 82 minutes Iolo Jones replaced Cook. Young’s shot from 25 yards brought a good diving save from Fleming. Patel robbed a defender and put Ham in but the winger’s weak shot went wide. The game went into time added on. The ball was played forward to Ham. The ball bounced up and hit his arm as he went to control it. He then played the ball down the middle for Bull to run onto, draw the keeper and slot the ball into the net for a last gasp winner.
Full time: Caerau (Ely) 0 Celtic 1
Celtic deserved this hard won win on the back of having much the better of the chances but they were hampered by the tight marking of the home defence, particularly by Thomas on Ham and the central defenders on Bull, the striker having no clear cut chances out of his first 8 attempts on goal. However, on the day, these two just needed the one opportunity to combine and break the deadlock. Lloyd Kinsella had a bright game on the right but needs to sharpen up his shooting on goal. Andrew Larcombe and Rakesh Patel were the pick of the Celtic defence but man of the match was Simon Prangley, particularly for his masterful display in the 1st half when he held the midfield together in the face of the prevailing wind.
STATS: Celtic: corners: 2; shots on target 12 off target 7; Caerau: corners 0; shots on target 1 off 6
REF WATCH: Owain Phillips and his assistants attracted the usual biased criticisms from the sidelines whenever their decisions brought disagreement. It has to be said there were a few baffling decisions but it’s the same for both sides. The goal was a tight call both for the possible handball by Ham and was Bull offside? The hand ball was ball to hand. The offside was a matter of when the ball was played. These were the crucial decisions and the officials got them right.