Vs: Cambrian & Clydach
Match Type: League (H)
Date: 25-11-2017 14:00
Celtic’s 7 match winning streak came to an end with a defeat at the hands of a clinical display by the visiting Rhondda Valley side, the second successive year in which they have won by this score at Celtic Park. Celtic started with Jordan Dibble in goal and Callum Wakeham replacing the injured Lloyd Kinsella on the right flank.
After a cagey but scrappy opening 5 minutes Cambrian forced the first chances, Liam Reed shooting wide and Corey Shephard curling a free kick from 25 yards just wide of Dibble’s right post. Celtic responded with a sustained spell of pressure with Chris Ham to the fore. He had a shot blocked and then crossed for Josh Bull to turn the ball back to Owen Cook who hit the side netting. Then Wakeham won the ball in a tackle and played the ball back to Kesh Patel who crossed to Ham whose shot was blocked. The ball was cleared to the winger for a second crack which he shot over the bar. Celtic continued to press and Bull looked to be through with a clear shot on goal only for Joe Evans to step in to clear his lines for a corner. Celtic were feeding Ham on the left wing at every opportunity and from one such play he cut inside to shoot over the bar.
On 28 minutes Cambrian forced their 1st corner taken by Shephard which left back Gareth Welsh leapt unmarked to head home for the opening goal. On 36 minutes the visitors were two up. Richard French drove down the left and crossed. There was a mix-up in the Celtic defence and Liam Reed ghosted onto the ball in acres of space to score. On 39 minutes Celtic pulled a goal back, when a long cross from Patel on the right was met first time by Ham with a low shot across the goal and into the corner of the net. Another long ball, this time from James Young, was headed just wide by Ham. At the other end a free kick by Shephard was cleared to French who hit his shot high and wide. As half time approached Bull shot just wide and Celtic cleared a headed off the line from a Cambrian corner.
Half time: Celtic 1 Cambrian 2
Cambrian started the half with their full backs swopping positions presumably for the classy Welsh to look after Ham. The winger’s immediate response was to move to the right flank. Celtic forced a corner which was cleared to Patel who crossed for Cook to head wide. Celtic won two more corners, the second of which was whipped into the 6 yard box by Simon Prangley but there was no Celtic player on hand to make contact. On the hour Ham was on target with a 25 yard effort which was comfortably saved by keeper Dan Bradley. Celtic forced another corner taken by Young, which was headed goalwards by Ham but cleared off the line for yet another corner.
Celtic had dominated the 3rd quarter of the game without reward and it was not until the 69th minute that Cambrian had their first chance of the half, Lee Price fastening onto a throw in for a clear shot on goal which was superbly blocked by Rhys Williams. Then Shephard dispossessed Prangley in midfield and blasted the ball over the bar from 35 yards. Cambrian were coming back strongly. A run and cross shot from Reed brought a diving save from Dibble. Williams hit a speculative 40 yarder well wide and on 83 minutes Cambrian made the game safe with their 3rd goal. It came from a Prangley free kick which was cleared deep into the Celtic half where Reed showed cool skills by trapping the ball, cutting inside, and steadying himself before placing the ball into the net.
In the closing minutes Celtic put Ham in the middle and Bull on the right wing and then brought substitute Luke Jones on up front but the visitors restricted the hosts to just one more chance, a curler from Ham which went straight to Bradley.
Full time: Celtic 1 Cambrian 3
Cambrian deserved their win because of the clinical manner in which they took their chances – a return of 3 goals from 6 shots on target with Reed to the fore tells its story. The influential teenager Shephard ran the show in midfield and the outstanding pairing of Joe Evans and Kieron Coles gave Bull his quietest game of the season. For Celtic, Ham was outstanding in the 1st half when he was given a constant supply of the ball but the service to him dried up after the break. Celtic will be disappointed they could not make more of their 8 corners. Man of the match was Rakesh Patel who has been showing continuously good form in recent weeks.
STATS: Corners: Celtic 8 Cambrian 2; Shots: Celtic 7 on target 7 off; Cambrian 6 on target 5 off.
Celtic substitutes: Iolo Jones for Owen Cook (70); Luke Jones for Simon Prangley (88)
Ref watch: Alex McInch had a really good game – the best referee we’ve had this season, undoubtedly helped by the sporting manner in which both teams played this game.