Tullyvallen 3 Coalisland Athletic 4
Coalisland Athletic travelled to Tullyvallen in the Mid-Ulster Shield and found themselves lucky to come away with the win on penalties.
Right from the start Tullyvallen went at the Tyrone men and with only minutes gone they went one up when Coalisland fell asleep and the home team scored with a strike into the bottom corner.
Coalisland were finding it extremely difficult to get used to the pitch which was probably the worst surface that they have played on this year.
Nevertheless Athletic kept pinning Tullyvallen back but, not for the first time this year, their finishing was poor and chance after chance sailed over the bar or wide of the posts.
Tullyvallen also created some chances but they too failed to score.
The game went from end to end and Tullyvallen were giving a good account of themselves keeping Coalisland on their toes.
The Gortgonis-based side got the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining of the half when Coney won a throw which he took quick to Colm Doris. He played it back to Coney who played it to D. Grimley who fired it to the near post.
The second half started with Coalisland uping the pace and this paid off when Fox ran forward past his marker and, about a yard inside the touchline, somehow flicked the ball with his standing foot into the top corner. Neither teams could believe how he had done it and may be Coalisland’s goal of the season.
Coalisland again had chances to add to their tally but missed chances became order of the day.
Then they got sucker punched as Tullyvallen headed forward and a shot took a deflection before endin up in Coalisland’s goal.
Coalisland kept pushing forward but every shot taken was pushed out for a corner or cleared. Midway through the half Coalisland took the lead again when Declan Coney played the ball to Shane Coney. He played it to Plunkett Kane, who miskicked, but Colm Doris was on hand to fire it to the net.
This lifted Coalisland and McKee went close but his shot was saved. Coalisland had more corners this game than they had all of last season but couldn’t still find the net.
Tullyvallen then were awarded a free 20 yards out. Coalisland’s keeper set up his wall but failed to mark the other post and Tullyvallen scored to the top corner.
With only minutes remaining Coalisland again had a chance to seal the game when Shane Coney played the ball into Colm Doris, but he had to turn to get the ball and before he kicked it the keeper came out and cleared.
Three minutes into extra time Coalisland took the lead when a long ball found Coney and he took it around the advancing keeper and sidefooted into the net. They should have scored again but as the with the run of the game they fired it over the bar.
Tullyvallen, to their credit, were not letting Coalisland have it their own way and were getting in the mix again. The Tyrone men let Tullyvallen push them back and eventually they got a shot on target. Coalisland’s keeper O’Neill made a good attempt at a save but didn’t get enough on the ball and it sailed into the net to make it 4-4 with time up.
Coalisland seemed to gave given up when it went to plenalties. However, it was 4-4 going into sudden death and a Tullyvallen player stepped up only to see his shot hit the crossbar. As it came down it hit the bar again and as Coalisland’s keeper had already walked away the ball could have ended up in the net but luckily it bounced wide.
Packie Hughes took Coalisland’s penalty and scored much to their relief as this display was well under par and to give Tullyvallen credit they pushed to the end showing great character for a team in Division 3.
Coalisland are away to Enniskillen Town this Saturday and a display like this will not be any good if they want to keep a good run in the Junior Cup.
The reserves were away to Banbridge Rangers in the league and were beat 5-3 with Niall O’Neill and Nathan Crawford scoring.
They are at home this week to Guilford.