Celtic Park was in pristine condition as usual when the two sets of teams lined up for the 1st Celtic Football Aid game of the 2010 season and getting to know each other certainly wasn't going to be a problem, with the vast majority of the players knowing each other well from the "Celtic Minded" fans site. Things were all set for an entertaining match and the highly supportive crowd of friends and family weren't to be disappointed with the players ultimately serving up a 9 goal thriller!
Sunday 9th May 2010
Celtic Home v Celtic Away
Kick Off: 11:00am
Legend: Danny McGrain
Match Officials: David White, Anthony O'Malley, Christopher Gentles & Frank Queen
The match commenced with both teams in high spirits and looking very optimistic, with the Away side enthusiastically engaging in the traditional team huddle. It certainly seemed to galvanise their spirits as they got off to a flying started with an early attempt a goal. The Home side then had their own chance with a free kick just outside the box which Kenny Webster just managed to palm past the left post.
The first goal went to the stronger looking Away side, as Stephen Dalton ran on to a long pass and crossed the ball into the No 6 Allan Cairns who confidently slid it past the keeper (0-1).The Away side then had another chance to pull further ahead as Andrew McGuinniety played an excellent cross into the box but none of his team could capitalise.
Next up Marco Guarino showed impressive skill in beating three defenders alone but he narrowly failed to find a teammate in space. The next chance was gifted to the away side when Andy McGuinniety went up against the giant that was the Home side's Gary Wilmer who subsequently floored McGuinniety. A free kick was given, but it was played into the wall and was cleared from the box.
The Home side then had another chance to score, one of their attackers hit an excellent chip from outside the box but it went just over the crossbar. The next goal however fell to the persistent Away side as Richard Caplan sent a fantastic long-range pass downfield to the feet of Marco Guarino who dodged Gary Wilmer and chipped the ball perfectly over the keeper (0-2).
The Away side then tasted glory shortly after, a long pass down field to Lee McDougall was played on to Andrew McGuinniety who clinically sent the ball into the bottom right corner (0-3). However the Home side quickly responded after an intercepted pass was given to Michael J Mulrainey who slid the ball past a defender and the keeper into the bottom left-hand corner to grab a goal back for the Hoops (1-3).
The Home side were then gifted a penalty when Michael J Mulrainey was fouled in the box. Mulrainey then expertly sent the keeper the wrong way as he slotted the ball into the back of the net, rekindling the Home side's hopes (2-3). With only one goal in it the Home side redoubled their efforts to equalise and they proceeded to get shots on goal but none that were able to beat the Away keeper, Thomas Hunter.
The Home side's hopes of getting level were dashed though as the ball was intercepted by Andrew McGuinniety who beat a defender to go on an unchallenged run before sending the ball flying into the bottom right corner of the net (2-4). Half time came minutes later denying the Home team a chance to reduce the deficit before the break.
Half-Time: Celtic Home 2 - 4 Celtic Away
After a rousing talk from their Manager Danny McGrain, the Home team came back onto the pitch re-energised and determined to do him proud (or at the very least avoid a roasting at full time!).
However it was the Away side who looked the more dangerous with the Home side appearing to give under the pressure as the Away side's attempts got closer and closer. The Home side then had their own very close crack at goal as first Michael J Mulrainey, then Kenny Webster had an attempt, with one being blocked be the keeper and the other just missing the left post.
After this close attempt the Home side seemed to brush themselves down and they started to look more like the side that had scored twice already and they confirmed this revival when Kevin Collins beat a defender and sent a pass through the defence to Kenny Webster, his initial effort couldn't beat the keeper but he made no mistake when the ball came back to him, scoring easily to bring the Home side back within one goal (3-4).
However the Away side pulled clear again when Stephen Dalton was fouled just outside the penalty box. The resulting free-kick was then sent curling past the wall by Michael Knox, leaving the keeper with no chance and putting his side 2 goals up again (3-5).
As the second half progressed the Away side looked to be in control and pushed to put an even bigger margin between themselves and the Home side. They had a number of close misses, but were just lacking that final key ball into the box. But the Home side hit back again when a ball played in past the Away defence allowed Alan Reid the chance to put away yet another goal for the Home side (4-5).
This inspired them to greater heights as the Home side came very close to equalising, with only a great save from Hunter denying them. With full time drawing near the Home side were frantic for an equaliser but when full time came the Away side managed to preserve their one goal lead and ultimately ran out worthy winners.
Full-time: Celtic Home 4 - 5 Celtic AwayMan of the Match (Home): Gary Wilmer
Home Team: Ian Sharkey, Richard Baxter, Gary Wilmer, Martin Dunne, David Bryant, Kevin Collins, Craig Bryant, Michael J Mulrainey, Graeme Usher, Kenny Webster, Alan Reid, James O'Donnell, Lee Gribbin & Gordon Hepburn Manager: Danny McGrain
Away Team: Thomas Hunter, Diarmuid McKenna, Marco Guarino, Richard Caplan, Allan Cairns, Shaun Kelly, Lee McDougall, Stephen Dalton, Michael McClafferty, Andrew McGuinniety, Malcolm Stickle, Stuart Nelson, Andrew Daisley & Michael Knox Manager: Danny McGrain
Mascots: Calvin Webster & Mack Kelly