WARRENPOINT TOWN 2 DUNGANNON SWIFTS 3 (AET)Bet McLean League Cup: Holders Dungannon Swifts see off Warrenpoint in extra-time
Seanan Clucas' late strike in extra-time saw new Dungannon Swifts Manager Kris Lindasy get his first win as boss as the League Cup holders eventually saw off Warrenpoint at the Q Radio Arena.
The Swifts had gone ahead twice in the game through Jarlath O’Rourke and an Anto Reilly own goal only to be pegged back both times by Philip Donnelly, his second a stunning volley, before Clucas struck in the 119th minute to avoid the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
While Warrenpoint began the livelier of the two sides, it was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges and created two decent chances in the first 20 minutes of the match.
Just before the quarter hour, Jarlath O’Rourke whipped in a dangerous corner from the right where Chris Hegarty was able to rise highest and head goalwards but it was straight at home keeper Aaron McCarey.
Then on 18 minutes, Ryan Harpur’s low cross from the right flank was in behind the ‘Point defence but between Daniel Hughes and Paul McElroy, neither were able to get their outstretched leg on the ball to apply the final touch.
The Swifts should have gone in front on the half hour when once again Hegarty got on the end of another corner, this time from McElroy on the left. His header was blocked by McCarey, who also managed to stop Harpur’s follow-up before the ball was scrambled out from the goal-line for another corner by a nervy Warrenpoint defence.
However, the visitors did take a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time as once again Warrenpoint failed to deal with Hegarty’s prowess in the air and when he headed back across goal, O’Rourke saw his first effort excellently blocked by McCarey before it hit the Swifts man and spun over the line.
O’Rourke picked up an injury in the process of scoring and he hadn’t returned to the field of play before Warrenpoint equalised a minute into stoppage time at the end of the first period. After Robbie Norton’s downward header was pushed up onto the bar by Dungannon keeper Robbie Norton, the ball dropped down perfectly at the feet of Philip Donnelly, who had the simplest of tasks to tap home from point blank range. It was the hosts who had the first chances, both from Eamonn Scannell within a minute of each other. The first came on 52 when goalscorer Donnelly laid the ball off the wide man who dragged his shot wide from 18 yards.
The second came less than 60 seconds later when Scannell, on loan from Linfield, spotted Addis marginally off his line and attempted an audacious effort from distance only for the keeper to get back and claim it under the crossbar.
In a tie high on effort but bereft of much quality, Dungannon regained the lead nine minutes before full-time with the third own goal scored in their favour in two games in the competition.
A low ball was driven across the Warrenpoint six-yard box by half-time sub Kris Lowe and Anto Reilly was the unfortunate defender who slid in to redirect the ball past McCarey, despite the keeper’s best attempts to claw it out.
However, then came a stunning equaliser from Donnelly – his second goal of the game – two minutes from time when, after three scrappy goals, the attacking midfielder cracked in a stunning left foot volley from a tight angle on the left that flew like a rocket into the right-hand corner of the net, giving Addis absolutely no chance.
Four minutes into the first period of extra-time, Dungannon almost went in front for the third time in the tie as Dougie Wilson’s 22-yard free-kick beat the wall and McCarey only to come back off the crossbar.
At the other end, Warrenpoint sub Mark Griffin flashed a left-foot drive wide of the post three minutes later, but chances were few and far between after that until 90 seconds from the end of the second period of extra-time as Clucas drove home from inside the box, beating McCarey at the near post to send the holders through to the next round.
Warrenpoint Town: McCarey, Reilly, Wallace, Norton, Hughes (McGrandles 92), M Lynch, J Lynch (Griffin 70), Watters, Donnelly, Halfpenny (O’Connor 61), Scannell (O’Sullivan 70)
Subs not used: Turker, Moan, Greenfield
Dungannon Swifts: Addis, Dykes, Hegarty, Wilson, Clucas, Hughes (Teggart 84), McMullan (Patton 61), McElroy, Harpur, O’Rourke, Smyth (Lowe H-T)
Subs not used: Coney, Lafferty, Marcal, Upton
Referee: Jamie Robinson