Football Aid Championships, Sunday May 13th, Celtic Park
Celtic (Home) 9 – Celtic (Away) 3
Doubles from Diamond and Ward and a hat trick from Byrne saw Hoops Home hammer McGrain’s Away squad in a thrilling finale to the Celtic leg of the Football Aid Championships.
The start of the first half was a fiercely competitive affair with a goal from Bryne inside two minutes handing Dixie Dean’s outfit the all important early lead.
McGrain’s men were in no mood to lie down though and launched a swift counter attack, Ian Croarkin deftly beating keeper Foy with a cheeky chip but the ball bounced wide to clear the threat.
The Away team continued to enjoy a good spell of possession until Home midfielder Tait broke down the right, releasing a fierce strike that flew just wide of the top corner.
Away pushed hard for an equaliser, Pamplin coming close in the 18th minute, brilliantly evading a sliding tackle from Home’s centre half but his powerful shot was acrobatically saved by Foy. A great turn by Spalding on the half way line also nearly led to the breakthrough, however Home’s ever vigilant defence were quick to smother the move.
Home doubled their lead in the 24th minute, thanks to some team work between Byrne and skipper Diamond. Byrne beat the offside trap and tore down the right to shoot across goal. While Higgins at full stretch got his hand to it, he could only knock it towards the boots of an advancing Diamond, and the skipper skilfully guided the ball into the back of the net.
It was 3 nil soon after, Mitchell showing some close ball control in the box before turning and shooting the ball low into the corner of goal.
Midfielder McElhill responded for the Away team, making space for himself down the right channel and smashing the ball up into the net from 10 yards to make it 3-1.
However any thoughts of a comeback were curbed by Ward only 2 minutes later. Substitute Elliott gathering the ball, breaking down the right and firing a great low cross into the box. Ward was onside to volley the ball home and reinstate their commanding lead.
While Away keeper Higgins was working hard to prevent McKinlay’s men pushing further ahead, pulling off two dramatic saves within 2 minutes, the forwards were busy constructing a counter attack of their own. A sweeping move down the right gave Pamplin the opportunity to go for goal, his clean strike swirling into the top corner to make it 4-2.
Home’s 3 goal advantage was reinstated a minute before half time. Elliott sending another perfect cross in from the right wing to set up Ward for his second and the midfielder taking a touch before striking on the half volley.
The Home team ran riot in the second half, attacking hard and the goals flowed in. Tait made it 6-2, running clean through onto goal and slotting the ball neatly past Higgins in the 53rd minute.
Diamond netted his second shortly after, nimbly picking up an Elliott pass and side-footing in to make it 7-2.
Byrne repeated this move for the team’s 8th goal and McLennan joined in the romp, powering the ball in after a corner was not properly cleared by the Away team.
2 minutes from time, McKinlay’s men sealed their emphatic win with a sweet goal from Byrne, this time the silky striker cleverly rounding Higgins to make the final score 10-2.
Home Team: D.Foy, M.McGee, T.McKinlay, L.Mitchell, P.Donnelly, R.Gray, S.Tait, D.Armstrong, G.Byrne, G.Diamond, D.Spalding, J.Ward, D.Elliot, F.Docherty, A.McLennan
Mascot: Connor Spalding
Away Team: W.Higgins, A.Dykes, D.McGrain, C.Bradley, G.Armstrong, G.McElhill, M.Croakrin, B.Campbell, I.Croakrin, P.McCleary, A.Pamplin, J.McKay, S.Wilson, R.McMenamin, R.Elliott
Mascot: Christopher Savage