Vs: Ton Pentre (R3)
Match Type: League Cup (A)
Date: 28-10-2017 14:00
Cwmbran Celtic marched into the 4th round of the League Cup for the 1st time in their 13 year tenure in the Welsh League with 2 extra time goals from Josh Bull to see off tough resistance from their bottom of the league Rhondda valley opponents. Celtic manager Lee Challenger gave starts to his 3 teenagers, Jordan Dibble in goal, Welsh Schools international Iolo Jones in midfield, and Callum Wakeham, playing wide on the right.
Celtic were in the ascendancy from the off, Josh Bull racing down the right wing but putting his cross too near keeper Ryan Griffiths with Chris Ham waiting for the pass in front of a gaping goal. From Celtic’s first corner, delivered by Ham, James Young’s shot was cleared off the line to Wakeham whose goalbound header was desperately tipped away by Griffiths. On 17 minutes Celtic took the lead when Ham stroked a superb 25 yard free kick (for a foul on Bull) past the flailing arms of Griffiths into the top right corner of the keeper’s net. Bull was causing havoc in the Ton defence, latching onto a through ball but overrunning it, then being denied by Griffiths in a 50/50 collision.
Ton’s first shot was a 24th minute header wide by Josh Toomey but a minute later it was Toomey who put Sam Small in to notch the equaliser. The parity was short-lived and in the 30th minute Bull sold an outrageous dummy to defender Huw Bowtell and hit a rasping shot which Griffiths did well to parry but only into the path of Wakeham who nudged the ball into the net for his 2nd goal of the season. Ton’s twitter post said the goal was against the run of play but the stats showed Celtic were 6-2 up on chances at the time!! Toomey was again on hand to head a Charlie Loss free kick wide but Bull was continuing to cause trouble with 2 more chances, the first blocked, the second wide.
Half time: Ton Pentre 1 Celtic 2
After the break Bull carried on where he left off forcing two corners through a diving save from Griffiths and a blocked shot. The second corner by James Young was headed goalwards by Rhys Williams. The ball was cleared to Andrew Larcombe who shot over the bar. The game drifted into a stalemate over the next 15 minutes. On 63 minutes Lloyd Kinsella replaced Wakeham and was immediately into the action with a free kick which was headed over by Ham. Celtic were in big trouble when Williams lost possession to Small and the experienced striker moved across the edge of the penalty area to shape up for a shot but Dibble sprinted off his line to brilliantly tip the ball off Small’s feet. In the 74th minute Ton equalised. A back pass from Williams was cleared low and straight by Dibble but he found Loss 30 yards out and the midfielder hit a 30 yard screamer in off the bar – a superb strike. In the last 10 minutes Celtic pushed for the winner, chances falling to Kinsella (saved by Griffiths), Ham, a fierce shot blocked, Kesh Patel, a header wide at the far post off a corner, and Jones blasting over the bar from 30 yards.
Full time: Ton Pentre 2 Celtic 2
Ton came out the stronger in the 1st period of extra time, Leon Jacka shooting well wide and substitute Thomas Randall heading a Loss cross wide. But on 100 minutes a blind back pass by right back Adam Lewis let in Bull who strode into the box, rounded Griffiths and slotted the ball into the net from an acute angle to put his team ahead. A minute later and it was Bull again, fastening onto a through ball by Jones to exquisitely lob the advancing Griffiths for Celtic’s 4th goal.
Ton refused to lie down and in the 2nd period of extra time, on 107 minutes, Sam Small met a cross from Leon Jacka to bring a great save from Dibble but the ball fell invitingly to Randall to score. Chances fell to substitute Owen Cook and Ton's Keiren Bassett (both blocked) but Celtic hung on to win the match.
Full time (after extra time): Ton Pentre 3 Celtic 4
This was a fine match played on a bumpy pitch. Celtic deserved the win on chances created. Josh Bull was at his imperious best with 2 goals and 2 assists. 17 year old Iolo Jones played the full 120 minutes and got stronger as the game progressed. Kesh Patel was his usual steady self at right back but man of the match was Andrew Larcombe who produced another near perfect display to continue his recent rich vein of form.
Celtic: Corners 7; Shots on target 16 off 5; Ton Pentre: Corners 1; Shots on target 7 off 5.
Substitutes: Kinsella for Wakeham (63), Cook for Prangley (72), Maguire for Ham (100).
Yellow cards: Bull and Ham (both for dissent)
Ref watch: James Burgess was OK.