Hoops bow out in extra-time

Striker Dale Malone who ended up as goalkeeper fro Hoops.
Striker Dale Malone who ended up as goalkeeper fro Hoops.

From the kick-off the home side took the game to Celtic and goalkeeper Michael Goff was called into action to make an early save.

Celtic replied when Josh Barton had a run and shot which was saved while shortly afterwards McGovern fired wide for the home side. Celtic kept up the pressure with Raymond Fitzpatrick having a shot saved, Dale Malone going close with a free kick and Barton cutting in and shooting across the face of goal.

On 24 minutes Colm Rooney’s day was cut short when he went off injured to be replaced by Conor Hagan. A great run and cross by Chris Lavery ended with Fitzpatrick heading over and the same player did likewise from a Declan McVeigh and the Hoops paid for their wastefulness when they were hit on the break in the 37th minute and McGovern netted a header from Haughey’s cross.

Celtic went all out after the break to get back in the game with Barton shooting wide and Malone sending in a great delivery from a free but no-one got on the end of it, but he was unlucky when he took control of the ball from a Goff kick-out, looked up and lobbed the keeper from 20 yards only to see his effort hit the inside of the post and come out.

John Cochrane should have equalised from a Malone free but he headed wide when well placed. Daniel Ryan then replaced Rogers on 69 minutes and the home keeper did well to save a Malone free kick as the Hoops applied pressure with Ryan and Fitzpatrick having shots saved.

Niall Lavery then replaced Cochrane on 80 minutes as Celtic tried to rescue the tie and Fitzpatrick had a shot saved while at the other end Goff saved well from Boyce.Right on time Celtic got the equaliser after Stephen Hutchinson played a free short to McVeigh who put a fine ball into the box and Ryan ghosted in to guide the ball home and in injury time Dorian was sent off leaving the home side with 10 men. Celtic should have sealed the game when Chris Lavery hit the post and Barton fired the clearance over. Celtic failed to make their extra man tell and Bagley forced a save from Goff as the home side gained momentum while Ryan had a shot saved at the other end. Right on the whistle to end the first period of extra-time a long ball by Bagley saw Hutchinson and McVeigh get in a tangle and O’Riordan was brought down by the exposed Goff who was sent off and replaced in goal by Malone who made a valiant effort but couldn’t save O’Riordan’s penalty. Then Lavery burst into the box and was sandwiched bytwo defenders but the referee, in this case without the aid of any assistants, pointed for a free right on the 18 yd line when it was apparent the offence was committed inside the box. Ryan’s free kick found Hagan who headed over and a minute later Chris Lavery had a free saved as the home side fought to keep the Hoops at bay.

With Celtic throwing everything at the home side as so often happens the team under pressure broke away and sub Brahoua broke upfield after a long ball cleared out of defence and although Malone did well to parry his first effort he had time to score the rebound and finish the game 3-1 to the home side.

This was a disappointing result for Celtic who on chances probably should have closed the game out in normal time but they never looked comfortable on the small pitch where space was at a premium.

Now they must now regroup for the away game against Banbridge Town on Saturday in a quest for three points against the only team to beat them in the league this season.

Kick-off at Crystal Park is 3.00pm.