Vs: Monmouth Town
Match Type: League (H)
Date: 20-01-2018 14:00
Cwmbran Celtic completed a season double over Gwent rivals Monmouth Town courtesy of two second half goals from their twin spearhead of Chris Ham and Josh Bull.
Celtic had to make a late change when they decided not to risk midfielder Owen Cook who felt a leg twinge during the warm-up, Iolo Jones stepping in for his first start since the league cup game at Ton Pentre in late October.
Celtic almost got off to a disastrous start when keeper Lewis Watkins completely missed his kick on a back pass and was forced to scramble back to dive and divert the ball for a corner. Bull shot wide from 30 yards. Ham weaved left then right before unleashing a 35 yard shot which brought a diving save from Asa Kirkwood. Next up with a long range effort was Callum Wakeham whose shot was comfortably saved by Kirkwood. On 20 minutes Monmouth’s first shot came from Lewis Clare who cut in on the left and shot just wide of the far post.
Wakeham was looking sharp. He shot over the bar and had two shots blocked. A free kick into the box by Mitchell Palmer was caught by Watkins whose prompt clearance put Celtic on the attack, Ham feeding Bull who shot over the bar. On 42 minutes Celtic took the lead. Simon Prangley’s corner was mis-punched by Kirkwood and Rhys Williams was on hand to head the ball high into the roof of the net.
Half time: Celtic 1 Monmouth 0
In the opening 5 minutes of the 2nd half Ham twice put Bull in down the left. His first shot hit the side netting, the second hit the post. A clearance by Rakesh Patel was cleared by Kirkwood and with the keeper way off his line Ham’s pot shot went wide of the empty net. On 56 minutes Town spurned a golden chance when Elliott Ford hit a pass from Clare over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Josh Bull fastened onto Ham’s pass and showed superb skill before shooting with his right foot to force Kirkwood to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. James Young put a long ball into Bull’s path and he brought another fine save from Kirkwood. Ham’s shot was tipped for a corner and Bull had another chance when he swooped onto a wild back pass and hit the side netting. For all their chances Celtic’s failure to convert them was keeping Town in the game and on 68 minutes Elliott Ford weaved one way then the other to give himself space to curl a delightful shot into the corner of the net for the equaliser.
Celtic responded with Young and Ham setting Wakeham up, his shot going just over the bar. On 75 minutes Celtic were back in front. Patel passed to Ham whose speculative 35 yard shot was parried by Kirkwood but the momentum of the shot carried it over the line. Ham put two more chances over the bar and, with Celtic now well on top, Patel played the ball forward to Bull whose long shot completely wrong-footed Kirkwood to seal the victory for Celtic.
Full time: Celtic 3 Monmouth 1
This was a well-deserved win for Celtic. Ham and Bull were a constant threat on the Monmouth goal and were well-supported by Wakeham. Rakesh Patel set up both 2nd half goals with his customary aplomb. Williams and Luke Jones were rocks in central defence but Man of the match was James Young for his non-stop running and prompting in midfield.
STATS: Corners: Celtic 7 Monmouth 1; Shots: Celtic 13 on target 10 off; Monmouth 5 on, 3 off.
Celtic subs: Connor for Wakeham 82, Larcombe for Iolo Jones 85, Maguire for Bull 90
Ref watch: Alex McInch had a sound game in the middle.