Reserves hold nerve in shoot-out

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Dollingstown Reserves entertained high flying Sandy Hill in the 3rd round of the Mid Ulster Shield, knowing they were facing a difficult challenge against a side sitting comfortably atop of Mid Ulster Division 2 and in great form, and came away victorious after a penalty shoot-out.

Having not played for two weeks, the young home side were rusty from the off, and the opening 10 minutes saw the visitors dominate possession looking threatening on the break.

However the new back line of Hill, Harrison and Coleman excelled to thwart the early threat and Dollingstown gradually grew into the game.

On the half hour, and after creating several half chances, Dollingstown took the lead when a Wright’s initial effort on goal fell favourably to his left foot, the midfielder rifling through a crowded penalty area to edge his side ahead.

The first half continued in similar form, with the hosts creating a few openings, but Sandy Hill were showing quality on the counter attack.

Minutes after the break Dollingstown doubled their lead when another inspiring run from the impressive Duffy saw his drilled cross excellently converted by the returning Cunningham -a goal which should have sealed the home side’s victory.

But, just five minutes later, the visitors grabbed a deserved lifeline, when the impressive McCoy half volleyed home from the edge of the area, and despite being relatively comfortable in possession, Dollingstown began to invite pressure. This pressure paid off for the Sandy Hill when, just minutes from time, a corner was not dealt with and rebounded off a defender and into his own net to force extra time.

Credit to Dollingstown, despite the late setback, they settled in extra time and created a few openings for Gordon and Ewins, but were thankful for stopper Gavin O’Neill who saved excellently to keep the scores level. Two unfortunate injuries late in extra time meant Dollingstown had to see out the remaining minutes with only nine men, to have the result determined in a penalty shoot-out.

Conversions from King, Gordon, Weir and Wright ensured Dollingstown Reserves booked their place in the 4th round, drawn away to Armagh City Reserves.

Squad: O’Neill, Coleman, Harrison, Hill, Duffy, Armstrong, Black, Wright, Loney, Gordon, Cunningham, Lavery, King, Weir, Ewins.

Man of the Match: Ryan Hill.