It was beautiful afternoon for the 2nd game of the day at Celtic Park, which was also the final game of Football Aid 2014. The two well matched teams of Celtic fans went on to produce an extremely exciting and close game of football that was certainly a more than fitting end to the season. The teams pushed each other hard throughout the 90 mins and despite both teams deserving something from the game it was the Away team that snatched a last min 3-4 win after a stunning late comeback.
Date: Friday 30th of May 2014
Venue: Celtic Park
Celtic (Home) vs Celtic (Away)
Kick off: 2:30 pm
Legends: John Kennedy and Mark Burchill
Match Officials: Tony Ventre, Paul Salina and Jonathan Rose
The two Celtic teams were both very confidant pre-match and the team Captains' predictions reflected this as they both predicted wins for their teams. Once the teams were suited and booted they marched out onto the famous pitch to rapturous applause from their watching fans. The Home side wearing the traditional Green and White hoops won the toss and elected to stay down the Jock Stein end while the Away side, wearing Yellow change shirts, kicked off.
In the early stages the teams were evenly matched and neither side looked to be dominating yet. There was some good passing back and forth but the teams were unable to manoeuvre in on goal straight away, that was until Tony Conaghan sent a great long ball forward and the Home defence didn’t quite manage to secure the ball. This was then collected by right mid Kevin Kealey whose shot was stopped by a great save from Home Keeper Stephen Glencorse. Unfortunately his save went straight to striker Jamie Doherty who headed the ball into the back of the net to give the Away side an early lead in the 6th min (1-0).
With the score against them early on the Home team responded well and they were straight back up the opposite end looking for an equaliser. They nearly got in soon after when an Away midfielder wasn’t quite able to control a clearance from the Keeper. No 7 Michael McCready picked the ball up but his pass into the box was sent back out by a defender. Centre-Mid James Maguire then ran onto the ball and his strong shot on goal was collected well by Away goalkeeper Paul Simmons.
The teams continued to come close to goal, with the Away side nearly scoring soon afterwards, only to be thwarted by keeper Stephen Glencorse. No 9 Jamie Doherty muscled past a pair of defenders before being dispossessed, the loose ball was collected by his teammate and Captain John Adderley, who thumped the ball towards the bottom right corner of the net, only to be denied at the last second by Home keeper Stephen Glencorse.
Thereafter for a period defences were on top and held strong against their opposition attackers. That was until the Home team pulled an equaliser out of the bag in the 36th min after a long ball to the right wing was controlled by Michael Clarke. The No 8 passed the ball into the box via Michael McCready and Kevin O’Hanlon and O’Hanlon then passed along the edge of the box to Edward Kennedy, the No 11 proceeded to send a fantastic strike from 20 yards, straight past the keeper who had no chance to react. The goal evened up the scores with just 9 mins to go before half time (1-1).
Neither team was able to gain a lead before the ref blew the whistle for half time. The players trooped off the pitch with their adoring fans applauding after a great 1st half performance. The half time team talks were intense as both teams listened to Legends John Kennedy and Mark Burchill's expert analysis and looked ahead to the 2nd half where they would go for the win. Once the teams were fully refreshed they came back out for what proved to be an intense 2nd half.
Half Time: Celtic (Home) 1 – 1 Celtic (Away)
The opening period of the 2nd half was very tense with both teams wanting to take the lead and trying to get in on goal at every opportunity. The Home team seemed to be on top as they monopolised possession, however the Away team refused to sit back and created some good chances on goal themselves.
In spite of this the Home side manage to pull ahead in the 55th min. No 17 Paul Kennedy gained control of possession after he managed to intercept a pass. He skilfully avoided the defence and proceeded to lay the ball off to striker Kevin O’Hanlon, who powered the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal past keeper Paul Simmons's attempted diving save, restoring the Home side's slender one goal lead (2-1).
It could have been a very short lived lead if not for centre half Peter Maloy. The Away side closed in on goal and sent a pass just in front of goal. This would have made it into the net if not for a well timed tackle from Maloy that stopped Away No 9 Jamie Doherty applying the killer touch on the ball. The ball was swiftly collected by keeper Stephen Glencorse and sent back upfield.
2nd Half sub Paul Kennedy was certainly an asset to his Home team and the No 17 set up a great passage of play that doubled the Home team's advantage. Kennedy dispossessed an Away player before getting out of danger and cleverly back heeling the ball past two defenders to Striker Kevin O’Hanlon. He too avoided defenders before passing to No 10 Taylor Flynn in the middle. Flynn wrong footed a defender before smashing the ball into the top right corner, leaving the Keeper with no chance of a save. This gave the Home side a two goal lead in the 60th min (3-1).
However the Away side refused to let this stand, and they began to up their game and push forward, creating some good chances. The 1st chance saw No 7 Kevin Kealey get on the end of long ball into the box, he didn’t quite manage to redirect the ball and nearly took himself out on the post but it was a close thing. However their persistence paid off when No 16 Michael Brady tackled one of the Home side and the loose ball was picked up by No 9 Jamie Doherty. He then passed out wide to No 7 Kevin Kealey who sent the ball through a gap across field to No 17 John Tardy who was right in time to collect the ball. The former USA youth team player then dummied the defender in front of him, sending him onto his back foot, before sending the ball flying past the stunned keeper Stephen Glencorse. This reduced the Home team's lead to just the one goal in the 70th min (3-2).
The game seemed to be under the Away side's control after that great goal had boosted their morale and even though the Home side continued to play well and get chances on goal the Away side went from strength to strength. Their next goal came only two mins after the last when Captain John Adderley played a great long high ball into the box where No 7 Kevin Kealey was waiting. The ball had bounced high but as it dropped Kealey hammered the ball past the keeper off the outside of his boot, levelling the scores with 72 mins on the clock (3-3)!
However even though the Home defence was performing strongly, with Mark Burchill marshalling them well, they weren’t quite able to shut out their opponents to secure the draw. With the Home team pressing for a winner themselves, a great piece of defensive play saw Legend John Kennedy stop an attack and play a pinpoint long through ball which found Captain John Adderley, the No 11 sprinted towards goal before producing a fantastic chip from 25 yards out that looped over goalkeeper Stephen Glencorse's outstretched arm before finding the left corner of the net. The goal was a devastating blow for the Home side and gave the Away side the lead with just 2 mins of the game remaining (3-4).
Unfortunately for the Home team they had no time to respond and the game ended soon afterwards with the Away side walking away with the win after a great comeback from two goals down. Though the scoreline was ultimately not in their favour, the Home side could be proud of their all round play and the excellent goals they had scored. In the end the Away team's extra attacking options from the bench had spurred them on to a famous win, and they took the plaudits as the team's left the field to a rapturous round of applause. It had been a fantastic experience for all the Hoops fans involved and a suitably exciting end to the 2014 season of games.
Full Time: Celtic (Home) 3 - 4 Celtic (Away)
Man of the Match Home: Michael McCready
Man of the Match Away: John Tardy
Moment of the Match: John Adderley
Home Team: Stephen Glencorse, Declan Laird (C), Mark Burchill, Peter Maloy, Stephen Devlin, James Maguire, Michael McCready, Michael Clarke, Kevin O'Hanlon, Taylor Flynn, Edward Kennedy, Kevin Wedlock, Declan Laird (H2), Brian Cronan, Paul Kennedy
Home Mascot: Reece Foy
Away Team: Paul Simmons, Tony Conaghan, John Kennedy, Jack Gordon, Sean Conaghan, Terry Rickeard, Kevin Kealey, David Gordon, Jamie Doherty, Martin Buchanan, John Adderley (C), Kevin Findlay, Christopher Jacobs, Michael Brady, John Tardy
Away Mascot: Anna Loughran