IRISH CUP: Comrades lose on penalties to Dungannon Swifts

Irish Cup action between Ballyclare Comrades and Dungannon Swifts at Dixon Park. INNT 07-001-PSB
Irish Cup action between Ballyclare Comrades and Dungannon Swifts at Dixon Park. INNT 07-001-PSB

Spot-kicks dominated the Irish Cup headlines at Dixon Park where Ballyclare Comrades came within a whisker of causing a shock result against Premiership opponents Dungannon Swifts.

In end, it was the visitors who eventually scraped home, winning the penalty shootout 5-4

There was almost an explosive start when Joel Cooper got to the by-line in the second minute and crossed to Andrew Simpson whose shot beat Alvin Rouse, but rebounded off the post.

Six minutes later there was a scare at the opposite end where Kyle Buckley cleared one off the line, but generally the Reds’ defence had the edge despite Swifts having the major share of possession.

Midway through the first half Cooper again out-smarted the cover before delivering the ball to Gary Brown, but his finish was too close to the big keeper.

Then just before the interval Liggett almost broke the deadlock when he swivelled and beat Flood who was glad to see the ball crash against the upright before being hacked clear.

After an hour’s play Hill made a double substitution with Trussell and Doherty replacing Brown and Simpson and this almost paid off in the 69th minute when another Cooper cross found Doherty who fired wide.

Moments later a Doyle effort was cleared off the line by Hutchinson, and then it was Swifts’ turn to apply the pressure.

A series of corners brought out the best in central defenders Doyle and skipper Adam McCart but all seemed lost when Swifts were awarded an 86th-minute penalty for a foul on Glackin, but Harpur blasted the spot-kick against the bar.

In the extra half-hour there was little to get excited about and the match was decided on penalties.

When Swifts scored with their first spot-kick and Trussell had his saved Comrades were fighting an uphill battle. McIlveen, Browne, Doyle and Kane all scored, but so did their opposite numbers to clinch the 5-4 win.

Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, C Reid, Doyle, McCart, Buckley; McIlveen, Kane, Brown (Doherty), Simpson (Trussell); Cooper, R Reid (Browne). Subs: not used McGowan, Forsythe.

Dungannon Swifts: Rouse, Lowe, Brennan, Armstrong, Wilson, Harpur, Hutchinson, Liggett, Glackin, Hazley, McCullough. Subs: Coleman, Fitzpatrick, O’Rourke, Mullen, Douglas

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)