Linfield awaits replay winners

MY BALL... Coagh's Steven Park controls the ball under pressure from a Newbuildings defender.mm07-328sr Picture : SIMON ROBINSON.
MY BALL... Coagh's Steven Park controls the ball under pressure from a Newbuildings defender.mm07-328sr Picture : SIMON ROBINSON.
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Coagh United 1 Newbuildings 1

A LUCRATIVE trip to Windsor Park is the mouth-watering incentive for Coagh United and Newbuildings, after both sides failed to deliver a knockout blow in a gripping Round Six cup-tie at a sodden Hagan Park on Saturday.

Cup holders Linfield await the winners of a replay, to be played on Monday February 20, that on the evidence of Saturday’s stalemate will be too close to call.

Neither side offered enough quality in the final third to merit a place in the quarter-finals first time around, that after Coagh midfielder Stephen Parks’ deflected shot off visiting defender Graham Moore cancelled out Paul McIvor’s 11th minute opener.

With home advantage it was a given that Championship Two leaders Coagh went into the last-16 tie as firm favourites but the east Tyrone outfit were fully aware that they faced a Northern Ireland Intermediate side riding on a crest of a wave, having won all 11 of their league games to date.

Wesley Robinson’s high-flyers had also accounted for Armagh City during their amazing cup run and certainly arrived at Hagan Park, cheered on by some 300 all-singing supporters, in confident mood.

And while it took the resurgent north west side a little time to settle, at the conclusion of the 90 minutes they had played their full part in an intriguing tussle, which remained firmly in the balance until the final whistle.

Coagh began on the front foot and just three minutes in should have gone ahead when overlapping right-back Scott McGeown delivered an inch-perfect cross for Mark Scott, who, from no more than four yards out, failed to get enough purchase on his header.

Buildings, too, had an early opportunity when Ricky Lee Dougherty galloped down the left channel onto a Stephen Wallace through ball but from an acute angle home netminder Johnny Yorke made the save.

Two minutes later though Coagh were rocked back on their heels when their pedestrian home defence failed to react to a searching clearance and McIvor expertly controlled the ball to rifle it low inside Yorke’s right hand upright.

The home side duly responded and within four minutes parity had been restored, the ball breaking kindly to Park, whose goal-bound shot deflected up off Moore’s outstretched leg and over the diving Conor Thorton in the visiting goal.

Back on terms, Coagh, prompted by industrious Park, shaded the verdict for the remainder of the first 45 minutes with Thorton thwarting Marcus Dallas at his near post before the ‘Buildings goalkeeper denied midfielder Johnny Black and comfortably held a stinging Aaron Thornton free kick.

Newbuildings though always posed a threat with McIvor and fellow midfielder Bryan Scanlon effectively springing forward to join the visiting attack and towards the close of the half the underdogs should have taken the lead when Kenny King’s searching free kick sent Wallace clear but the former Dergview player volleyed over from no more than eight yards.

In stark contrast to the first half, the visitors, growing in stature by the second, upped the ante on the resumption with Scanlon opening the door for Dougherty, whose extra touch allowed Coagh skipper David Calderwood to quickly slam it in the striker’s face.

But the pressure remained on the home side as Yorke pushed away a rasping 20-yarder from Dougherty, after another trademark surging run by McIvor had made the initial incision.

At the other end Thorton tipped over a thumping effort by Black, who had connected sweetly with a Park lay-off before the visiting netminder got down smartly to smother the ball at Jason Gillespie’s feet.

If anything the home side asked the bulk of the questions in the final 10 minutes as an attempted clearance by Thorton rebounded off charging substitute Glenn Clarke and inches over the bar before the visiting support breathed a collective sigh of relief when Mark Scott cut in off the right to sent a 30-yard pile-driver narrowly past the far post.

This Saturday, Coagh are back home again in the Intermediate Cup against Cilftonville Olympic, kick off at Hagan Park is 1.30pm. This is a match Coagh could do without as it comes just three days before their Irish Cup replay. Efforts have being made to have this fixture changed but the IFA are not moving on the matter. All Coagh can hope for now is dry weather this week if not both fixtures will be in doubt.

Coagh United: J Yorke: S McGeown; A Thornton; D Calderwood (capt) J Ferguson; S Park; J Black (G Clarke 69); C Donaldson; J Gillespie; M Dallas; M Scott.

Subs not used: B Anderson; L Hunter; D Noble; G McKenzie.

Newbuildings: C Thorton; G Moore; K King; P Blair (capt) J Moore; D Scanlon (L Nicholl 80); B Scanlon; P McIvor; RL Dougherty; S Curry (N Robinson 62); S Wallace (W Ferguson 66).

Subs not used: C Beattie; T Thompson.

Referee: A Davey (Bangor)

Cautions: Dallas (54); S Wallace (55); King (60); Thornton (65); Blair (74).

Coagh United Res 3 Banbridge Town Res 0

With no action in weeks Coagh Utd were keen to get back to winning ways against bottom club Banbridge Town. The home side got of to the best possible start going one up after just 3 mins, Clive Campbell’s forward ball was flicked on by Jonny Johnson and Andrew Creighton made no mistake from twelve yards out. Coagh continued to peg Banbridge back early on playing some good football in the process.

A mazy run and shot from Coagh’s new signing Willy Beckett crashed off the crossbar, Banbridge caused Coagh few problems but on 31 mins debutante Kyle Nelson pulled of a very good save low to his left when exposed by the usual reliable back four, but with 5 mins till the break the lead was doubled, Creighton getting on end of a cross from another new boy Stuart Forrest.

Three minutes into the half, another good ball from Forrest found Matty Kempton unmarked but the keeper did well to smother the ball at his feet, on 52 mins Creighton was a coat of paint away from his hat trick as he cut inside and with a well struck shot from 20 yards hit the crossbar.

Coagh made a number of changes as the half progressed in the hope of making the game safe and on 79 mins Beckett who was having a very good game in midfield won a tackle in midfield and released Campbell who laid off for Kempton to make it 3-0. On 84 mins Ally McGuckin who was introduced earlier in the half was unlucky not to get on the score sheet with a powerful long range free kick which the keeper did well to push over.

The three points see Coagh stay in the title race with a trip to Banbridge Rangers next week.

18th February Banbridge Rangers V Coagh United Res

1. Kyle Nelson 2. Robert Allen 3.Phillip Stewart 4.Andrew Neill 5. Stephen Glasgow 6. Stuart Forrest 7. William Beckett 8. Clive Campbell 9. Andrew Creighton 10. Jonny Jonhson

11. Mathew Kempton 12. Timothy Graham 14. Ally McGuckin 15. Mark Taylor 16. Neil Smyth 17. David Harkness.