Vs: Undy Athletic
Match Type: League (H)
Date: 14-10-2017 14:30
Celtic achieved their 4th successive win with a hard-won victory against Gwent rivals Undy Athletic which consolidates their 10th place in the league table and puts them 7 points clear of the bottom 3, a remarkable turnaround from being anchored 2nd from bottom 4 weeks ago.
Celtic’s only change was Lewis Watkins returning in goal. Undy went into the game on the back of a poor run of only one point from 5 games but they are always a hard nut to crack in these derby games and they were the first to threaten, Gareth Cullimore hitting a cross from Ben Lawrence over the bar. Celtic responded with 3 efforts, Josh Bull shooting well wide, Lloyd Kinsella bringing a fine diving save from James Smallcombe with a 25 yard drive, and Bull should have scored when, clean through, he shot too close to Smallcombe who made another excellent save.
Undy responded with 3 chances of their own. Gareth Cullimore, shooting on the turn, Paul Clayton with a header and Gyles Thompson all finding the safe hands of Watkins with their strikes. The end to end play continued. Chris Ham drove down the left but shot over the bar. Cullimore headed Smallcombe’s long free kick straight at Watkins. Ham picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park, played the ball forward to Bull who fed Owen Cook whose shot was no trouble for Smallcombe.
On 38 minutes Undy won a penalty. Dan Jarman and Kesh Patel both chased a ball down the Celtic right hand side, the full back made contact with the winger who went down and the referee, poorly placed a good 30 yards away, immediately pointed to the spot and yellow carded Patel. It didn’t look a penalty and justice was done when James Barnes weakly shot his kick straight at Watkins. Celtic responded with Young and Ham combining to put Cook in for a 35 yarder which was just over the bar. Undy had the last chances of the half, Thompson’s free kick was blocked by Celtic’s defensive wall and Jarman headed wide.
Half time: Celtic 0 Undy 0
The 2nd half was barely a minute old when the visitors took the lead, Jarman crossing from the right and Power making no mistake with a sweet drive into the net. Jarman was then unceremoniously upended by Rhys Williams which earned the Celtic skipper a yellow card. Undy were on top. Lawrence’s pot shot was just wide. Celtic just could not get their game going but on the hour Simon Prangley changed all that with a super through ball down the left side of the penalty box to James Young who swung the ball across the goal for the unmarked Bull to slot his 8th goal of the season.
The goal transformed Celtic. Bull chased a long ball down the right, tricked his way past the defender back into the box and then let rip a rasping drive which brought a great save from Smallcombe. Next up Cook drove into the box and was floored by Chris Parry, The referee gave another penalty and yellow carded the defender. Again, it looked a dubious decision but Chris Ham stepped up to convert his 4th penalty in 4 games. On 68 minutes Celtic had a 3rd goal when, from their 1st corner, Lloyd Kinsella’s pin point delivery was sliced into his own net by Rhys Aherne.
Three goals in 8 minutes had rocked Undy but to their credit they persevered. Cullimore, a constant threat up front, had a shot blocked. Parry headed a Barnes corner wide and, on 76 minutes Cullimore pulled a goal back with a headed goal from a cross by Power. Power, a fine attacking midfielder, was again involved when he crossed to substitute Marrett whose overhead kick went wide. Celtic replied with Bull squirming his way down the left bye-line but blazing his shot wide. Then Kinsella showed great skill down the left channel ending with a shot across goal and wide. On 88 minutes Power’s cross brought an aerial challenge between Watkins and Cullimore. The ball dropped invitingly to Lawrence who, with the goal at his mercy, hit his snap shot wide. That was the last chance of the game.
Full time: Celtic 3 Undy 2
Celtic deserved their win, the key being their superiority in midfield. Once again Prangley was outstanding in the holding role and Young and Kinsella both had good games. Lloyd showed superb fitness with his strong running right to the end but man of the match was James Young, constantly prompting his team and forever closing down players in the middle of the park.
This was Celtic’s first home win of the season in 4 starts and their 3rd successive league win against bottom six opposition, a welcome change from this time last season when we struggled to beat the relegation contenders.
STATS: Honours even - Celtic: Corners 1: Shots on target 9 off 7 target; Undy: Corners 1: Shots on target 9 off 7.
Celtic subs: Luke Jones for Cook 82, Callum Wakeham for Prangley 88, Iolo Jones for Bull 92. Celtic old boy Ryan Dorrian was a 61st minute sub for Undy.
Ref watch: Ben Williams: had a good match. Both penalties were soft decisions but he displayed consistency in making the two decisions.