Dungannon Swifts celebrate their shoot-out victory (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Holders Dungannon Swifts continued their defence of the BetMcLean League Cup with a penalty shoot-out defeat of Cliftonville at Solitude.
Kris Lindsay's side might have roared into the lead inside the opening minute had Johnny Lafferty connected with Mark Patton's cross to the back post.
Despite that bright start chances were at a premium during the first half.
Cliftonville did enjoy most of the possession but apart from efforts from Jay and Rory Donnelly there was little to trouble Swifts keeper Niall Morgan while, at the other end, Lafferty did find himself through on goal but couldn't beat Brian Neeson.
The second half was an altogether better affair. Chris Curran was denied only by Morgan's outstretched leg before, soon after, he parried a Jay Donnelly effort to safety.
He did beat Morgan after that but, on this occasion, a Swifts defender cleared the ball away while Lafferty suffered similar frustration moments later.
The sides traded chances but neither were able to make the decisive impact that would have prevented the game slipping into extra-time.
Finally, on 97 minutes, the deadlock was broken in stunning fashion after Ives picked the ball up around 30 yards from goal to unleash a fantastic drive into the top corner to hand Cliftonville the advantage.
But the Swifts weren't about to give up their grasp on the trophy and duly levelled nine minutes later after Lafferty showed great composure to slot he ball past Neeson after connecting with a Jarlath O'Rourke delivery.
PENALTY SHOOT-OUT SEQUENCE (ABBA METHOD)
Cliftonville - Joe Gormley - misses - 0-0
Dungannon Swifts - Paul McElroy - scores - 0-1
Dungannon Swifts - Chris Hegarty - scores - 0-2
Cliftonville - Stephen Garrett - saved - 0-2
Cliftonville - Jay Donnelly - scores - 1-2
Dungannon Swifts - Jarlath O'Rourke - scores - 1-3
Dungannon Swifts - Alan Teggart - saved - 1-3
Cliftonville - Levi Ives - scores - 2-3
Cliftonville - Ryan Catney - misses - 2-3
Cliftonville: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Breen, C. Curran, R. Donnelly, McDonald, Bagnall, Catney, Gormley, J. Donnelly subs Garrett (replaced C. Curran 70), McConnell (replaced McDonald 101), Lavery (not used), Maguire (replaced R. Donnelly 111), McMenamin (not used), A. Donnelly (not used), Casey (not used)
Dungannon Swifts: Morgan, Hegarty, Wilson, Armstrong, Clucas, McMullan, McElroy, Teggart, Patton, Lowe, Lafferty subs Coney (not used), Dykes (replaced Armstrong 106), O'Rourke (replaced Wilson 100), Burke (replaced Patton 85), Hutchinson (replaced McMullan 78), Campbell (not used), Smyth (not used)
Referee: Andrew Davey