31 Jan 2020 in News
Goals from Matthew Hayton, Michael Trodd and Abubaker Salim proved enough to see Paul Bennett’s men into the last eight of the Northern League Cup at Druid Park on Wednesday night, with goals from Mark Waite and Morgan Dart in the final half-an-hour only proving consolations for Mark Collingwood’s side in the end.
“If I’m being honest with you, I don’t think West Allotment beat us tonight, I think we beat ourselves,” reflected Collingwood post-match when considering the several openings created but missed by his side, paired with some loose moments that the hosts capitalised on to score.
It was those situations that proved the difference come full-time.
The visitors had started the better. The ever-dangerous Taylor Richardson twice flashed right-footed efforts across goal and just wide of the bottom-left corner inside the opening five minutes.
Sean McRoberts then saw a low 25-yard drive well kept out as goalkeeper Finlay Hodgson got down swiftly to his right to gather.
The Northern League Division 2 leaders soon capitalised on those missed openings, though. Hayton intercepted a loose-pass inside the Seaham half, glided past a defender to give himself a clear sight of goal and coolly side-footed into the bottom-right corner from 18-yards with his right-foot.
He probably should have had another moments later when he was found by an excellent delivery from the right but his point-blank header was somehow kept out by Seaham stopper Aaron Steavens. The goalkeeper required treatment afterwards, having seemingly taken the effort full in the face.
Seaham kept pushing but the equaliser wouldn’t come, with captain David Robinson denied when he helped the second-ball from a corner goalwards in the 35th minute but saw it cleared off the line.
Hayton then volleyed over from virtually the same spot from which Steavens had denied him with the final opening of the half on 41 minutes.
Celtic came out of the blocks with an additional spring in their step after the break. It paid off. Within 12 minutes they’d trebled their advantage.
First, Trodd arrived just in time at the far-post to take down a far-post delivery from the left and then squeeze a low left-footed finish home from a tight angle.
Seven minutes later, possession was won high by the hosts again and, once more, they capitalised. This time Trodd slid in Salim and he converted coolly from close-range with his right-foot.
Dart and Jaden Cahill-Taylor were introduced by Collingwood either side of the hosts’ third and the former very nearly provided an immediate response when he connected well with a first-time volley after his run into the box was superbly found by the latter’s flighted pass, but he was unfortunate in that it went straight at Hodgson.
Salim then shot over at the other end following a similar move to that which had seen him score a little earlier, but the majority of traffic was increasingly heading in the opposite direction.
Waite made it count in 66th minute when he helped an inswinging corner from the left into the top-corner at the far-post to give Seaham hope.
Richardson saw a seemingly goalbound effort superbly blocked by Gilberto Chapim 12 minutes later after being teed-up by a clever back-heel as the pressure was maintained and the visitors soon had a well-earned second from another set-piece.
McRoberts’ free-kick from the left was inviting and may well have found the net itself even if Dart had been unable to nip in at the far-post in time to head home and ensure it forced the goal it deserved.
That set-up an enticing finale. The Star pushed and pushed but Celtic, to their credit, held firm. Richardson hadn’t stopped throughout and he lifted a dangerous ball across the six-yard box in the first minute of stoppage-time but no one in red and white could quite reach it.
That would prove to be the closest The Star would come to a leveller in the game’s dying embers.
“Every department needs to improve,” stated Collingwood when looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to Thornaby.
“It’s a massive, massive game so we’re going to go there and we’re going have to treat it like a cup final and we’re going to have to play like that from now until the end of the season.”