Vs: Taffs Well
Match Type: League (H)
Date: 11-11-2017 14:00
Cwmbran Celtic registered their 7th successive win with a single goal victory against a talented Taffs Well outfit whose behaviour let them down in the final half hour leaving them with only 8 players on the pitch. Celtic were at full strength for this mid-table clash. From the off Taffs looked to find their play-maker Sam O’Sullivan at every opportunity and on 10 minutes he pounced on a lob from defence to shoot and bring a fine save from Lewis Watkins for the first of 3 excellent in-swinging corners by O’Sullivan. Celtic responded with Chris Ham forcing the first Celtic corner on the left from which Lloyd Kinsella’s low cross was met first time by Josh Bull on the edge of the box, his shot on the turn going just wide of the upright. Owen Cook shot high and wide. A 30 yard effort from Warren Jones was easily saved by Watkins.
A long clearance from defence by Taffs was half blocked by Rhys Williams but the ball fell into the path of O’Sullivan and it took a superb last ditch recovery by the Celtic skipper to push the ball away for a corner. From the visitors 5th corner taken on the right by Gareth Emanuel, the ball was cleared but only to Warren Jones who passed to Marcus Jones who set up Ricky Hodge whose shot brought another corner – great interplay from Taffs. On 22 minutes Celtic took the lead. Simon Prangley’s free kick from wide right was deflected off the head of a Taffs defender to Rhys Williams at the far post who headed the ball high into the net. Taffs responded with a header from O’Sullivan and a shot from Marcus Jones both saved by Watkins. Kinsella shot over the bar. On 36 minutes Bull put Ham down the left and his cross from the by-line went just the wrong side of Cook and Kinsella in front of goal. Neither could make contact and the ball was scrambled away. Next, Ham put in a curling 35 yard shot which keeper Josh Gould tipped over the bar. James Young shot high and wide from a Kinsella corner. On 45 minutes Marcus Jones looked to sweep past Larcombe to give himself a clear chance but the defender brought him down and from the free kick on the edge of the box Aide Harris brought a brilliant save from Watkins away for a corner.
Half time: Celtic 1 Taffs Well 0
Celtic were first to attack after the break, Bull latching onto a through ball to bring a save from the on-rushing Gould. Taffs brought key midfielder Lloyd Toghill on in midfield for Emanuel. Prangley put Kinsella in but his shot was wide. A snap shot from O’Sullivan was so wide it went for a corner. Arran Thomas was yellow carded for a foul on Bull. The striker dusted himself down and in the next attack he strode down the left to blast the ball high over the bar. Thomas picked up a clearance and his shot from distance whistled over the bar. On 71 minutes Patel and Ham combined to set up Kinsella down the right. He shot straight at the keeper, damaging his leg in the process and he was replaced by Callum Wakeham. Straight after, Thomas got a 2nd yellow for kicking the ball away and was sent off. Player manager Aide Harris was also booked for complaining.
Ham was getting plenty of the ball down the left flank and from one run he brought a great save from Gould. The ball fell to Wakeham whose left foot shot went wide of the gaping net. On 79 minutes Bull robbed Harris in the left corner and crossed the ball which was cleared back to the striker who shot wide. In quick succession Wakeham and Patel both put low crosses into the area from the right and both times Bull, sliding in at the far post, just failed to make contact. Wakeham’s header from a Ham corner was saved by Gould and on 83 minutes Marcus Jones got a 2nd yellow for a crude challenge which left Larcombe limping. Abdul Mohsin also went into the book for backchat. Despite being down to 9 men Taffs were having as much of the closing minutes as Celtic and the Celtic defence became nervy in the face of 3 or 4 long throws into the box by Toghill. In time added on the referee finally lost patience with the interjections of Harris and the red card meant Taffs finished with 8 players.
Full time: Celtic 1 Taffs Well 0
Celtic were not at their best but they toughed the game out to snatch the 3 points. The back five had their best game of the season showing a united front against the trickery of journeyman forward Sam O’Sullivan and allowing prolific scorer Sam Johnson (57 goals for Ely Rangers in last 2 seasons) just one half chance. In the 1st half Celtic conceded 7 corners and 7 shots, all on target, but still kept a clean sheet. Lewis Watkins capped a faultless performance with his two great saves. Rakesh Patel and Richard Crees were outstanding on the flanks in defence and attack. Andrew Larcombe was his usual dogged self but the man of the match award was shaded by Rhys Williams who rounded off a fine game against his old team with the winning goal. Celtic’s midfield resources will be stretched by the latest injury to Lloyd Kinsella to add to Lee Penry (out for season) and Dominc Connor (at least another fortnight out). Fortunately they still have Adrian Maguire, Iolo Jones and Callum Wakeham to come in.
STATS: Corners: Celtic 4 Taffs Well 9; Shots: Celtic 8 on target 8 off target; Taffs Well 7 on target 4 off target
SUBSTITUTIONS: Callum Wakeham for Kinsella (71); Iolo Jones for Owen Cook (90)
REF WATCH: This was the 3rd successive Celtic game James Burgess had refereed. There has to be something wrong with the scheduling for this to happen. His decisions certainly appeared to favour Celtic on the day but there is a right and wrong way to complain and unfortunately the visitors player manager set a very poor example to his team by his constant carping throughout the match which ended with his red card to leave his side with 8 players. Taffs have history in this regard, having their captain and manager sent off for dissent and Cortez Belle red-carded in their previous 2 visits to Celtic Park.