Vs: Briton Ferry Llansawel (QF)
Match Type: League Cup (A)
Date: 13-01-2018 13:30
In an exciting see-saw encounter Celtic squandered a two goal lead and were forced to dig deep to survive extra time by a resurgent Briton Ferry Llansawel. However after 9 exquisitely taken penalties put Celtic 5-4 ahead in the shoot out Celtic keeper Lewis Watkins saved the 10th penalty to give his side a thrilling victory.
Celtic fielded Callum Wakeham on the right flank in place of the injured Lloyd Kinsella and they got off to a dream start when in the 7th minute Rakesh Patel played a long diagonal ball to Owen Cook who whipped it back into the middle where Chris Ham hit a magnificent 35 yard shot into the top right hand corner of flailing keeper Luke Probert’s net. A Rhys Williams shot was deflected away by a defender for a throw in and Ferry’s first effort on target was a 30 yarder by Tom da Silva which was comfortably saved by Watkins. Chris Ham and Josh Bull were looking lively up front for the visitors and a Celtic free kick was headed on by Ham to Bull whose shot was deflected for a corner by Probert but the referee missed the touch and gave a goal kick. Then Ham fed Bull on the left and his first time shot was parried by Probert.
On 29 minutes Celtic went two up. Richard Crees tackled Steve Davey and played a great pass down the left to Bull who again shot early leaving Probert no chance with his cross-shot into the net – another superb goal. James Young and Cook combined to give Ham another chance which he curled wide. As half time approached there was a period of stalemate and Celtic looked to be in control but in the 45th minute Davey took a free kick on the left which evaded attackers and defenders alike and looped over Watkins’ outstretched hands into the net – a very soft goal for Celtic to give away.
Half time: Briton Ferry Llansawel 1 Celtic 2
Briton Ferry came out after the break with renewed passion after that gifted late first half goal and they could so easily have grabbed an immediate equaliser when Davey finished a move down the right with a goalbound shot which was deflected by a Celtic defender just wide of Watkins’ near post with the keeper wrong-footed. Gareth Jones blazed a good chance over the bar and for Celtic Wakeham shot straight at the keeper and Ham whipped a free kick wide of the post.
Ferry were cranking up the pressure and on 69 minutes Rhys Williams conceded a free kick on the edge of the Celtic penalty box from which Kieran Williams’ free kick brought a diving save from Watkins. Two minutes later Luke Jones was yellow carded for a free kick in the same position and this time it took a brilliant save by Watkins to deny Kieran Williams, the ball going for a corner. Davey shot wide and Celtic briefly rallied. Wakeham was getting plenty of space down the right flank and he fed Ham who cut inside and shot over the bar. Then Wakeham pounced on a slip by Dai Kingdom and stormed through on goal before unleashing a pile driver shot which brought a superb tip over the bar from Probert. Ham drove forward and shot straight at Probert.
In the 81st minute Ferry equalised with a speculative 35 yard effort from Steve Hughes and in the 90th minute the increasingly influential Davey crossed into the Celtic area but there was no Ferry player on hand to take the chance.
Full time: Briton Ferry Llansawel 2 Celtic 2
With the pitch getting heavier from the misty rain, extra time became a war of attrition. In the first period it was all Ferry. Watkins was injured trying to clasp a ball towards goal. The ball rolled towards the empty net and Rhys Williams hoisted it away to safety. Then Watkins lost possession on the left edge of his penalty area and fouled Davey for which he got a yellow card – it could have been a last man red but the referee stuck to the yellow after consulting his assistant. Davey was pulling all the strings for Ferry. He brought two great saves from Watkins, and substitute Tyler Brock shot over the bar. Celtic’s one goal effort of the half was a 40 yarder from Ham which Probert saved.
If Davey had ruled the first period, then the second belonged to James Young. His free kick was headed straight at Probert by Rhys Williams. He then played Bull down the left, the striker’s shot screwing across the goal. Another Young free kick was headed over the bar by Ham. Ferry had two great chances to clinch the game. Jones was put clean through by Hughes but shot over the bar of the gaping goal and Brock also shot over the bar but Young fashioned Celtic’s final chance with a free kick which Luke Jones headed wide.
After extra time: Briton Ferry Llansawel 2 Celtic 2
The penalty shoot out brought a superb exhibition of marksmanship as the first nine penalties were struck with such precision that neither keeper got a finger to any of the shots. For Celtic: Rakesh Patel, Chris Ham, Simon Prangley, James Young, Josh Bull. For Ferry: Kieran Williams, Scott Tomlinson, Steve Davey, Gareth Jones; and then Tyler Brock took the 10th kick. He struck it well but Watkins guessed right and made the save to put his jubilant side through to the semi-finals.
Final result: Briton Ferry Llansawel 2 Celtic 2 (Celtic win 5-4 on penalties)
Celtic showed a lot of character to overcome the disappointment of losing a two goal lead and it was pleasing to see keeper Lewis Watkins recover from his lapse for the goal which brought BFL back into the game. His one extra time save shown on Steve Roberts’ photographs was a ‘worldy’ and of course he became the match-winner with his penalty save. There were gritty performances all round the pitch by Celtic. James Young showed incredible energy to still be driving his side on at the end of 120 minutes. However man of the match was Rakesh Patel, Mr Consistency, who once again, put in a near perfect performance.
STATS: Corners: Celtic 6 BFL 6 ; Shots: Celtic 10 on target 6 off target BFL 10 on target 4 off target
Celtic substitutions: 83 Andrew Larcombe for Owen Cook, 90 Dominic Connor for Callum Wakeham, 105 Iolo Jones for Richard Crees
Celtic yellow cards: 57 Richard Crees, 69 Callum Wakeham, 71 Luke Jones, 97 Lewis Watkins.
Ref watch: Darren Hales had a superb match in the middle.