Cliftonville 0 Warrenpoint Town 0
Warrenpoint Town won 3-1 on penalties after extra-time
Warrenpoint Town secured the mother of all Cup upsets with a wonderful victory over humiliated Cliftonville at Solitude last night.
The Championship 2 outfit triumphed 3-1 on penalties after 120 scoreless minutes to deservedly set up a sixth round date with Dungannon Swifts.
Goalkeeper Johnny Parr was the hero with two saves in the shoot-out as the Irish League’s newest club, who were only formed in 1987, enjoyed unquestionably the finest night in their short history.
Cliftonville, by contrast, can barely have had worse milestones in their excess of 130 years.
Having been relieved to claim a replay following the 1-1 draw at Milltown 10 days previous, the Reds had been expected to come out all guns blazing and make mince meat of their opponents at this second time of asking.
Instead, they appeared not to have learned their lesson and failed to produce any kind of urgency on a night which will live long in the memory of supporters from both sides.
The Reds had three goals disallowed for offside over the course of the game — a first-half effort from Kieran O’Connor and then extra-time strikes from Chris Scannell and Rory Donnelly — but were sloppy throughout and, once referee Simon Creaney’s whistle signalled the end of open play, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Town looked pumped up and, roared on by a large travelling support, were confident in their chances of success, whereas Cliftonville looked resigned to their fate — hardly surprising given their grim record from the spot this season.
After a woeful first 45 minutes which saw Keith Johnston twice go close to netting for the visitors, the hosts were somewhat improved after the interval and, after George McMullan had sent a free-kick against the post, skipper Scannell made a hash of the rebound.
Parr then saved a long-range drive from McMullan.
Extra-time almost got off to the perfect start for Cliftonville but Peter Hutton’s powerful header was blocked before Town defender Franco Trainer stuck out a timely boot to steer a dangerous Jones drive away from goal.
Eddie Patterson’s men failed to make any kind of impression during extra-time’s second period and Town twice came close to claiming the goal which would have booked their progress.
First a dangerous cross from the left was almost turned into his own net by Barry Holland only for Hutton to clear and then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Sean McMullan completely miscued with the goal at his mercy.
And so to penalties.
Scannell’s effort was saved and, after Sean McMullan had converted, Donnelly ballooned over the top. Town took a 2-0 lead through Johnston before George
McMullan scored for Cliftonville.
Gregory Curtis was next to net for the visitors and, when Parr saved from Martin Jones, there was no way back for the hosts — Warrenpoint had done it and justice was served.
CLIFTONVILLE: Connolly, R Scannell, Hutton, B Holland, McMullan, C Scannell, Garrett, Caldwell, Johnston, O’Connor, Bradley. Subs: M Holland (for O’Connor, 120 mins), Seydak, Jones (for Johnston, 66 mins), Donnelly (for Caldwell, 66 mins), McVeigh
WARRENPOINT: J Parr, Trainer, O’Connor, Boyle, Cowan, Mooney, Curtis, S Parr, Kinney, Johnston, McAleenan. Subs: Cunningham, Crilly, Jones, Smith, McMullan (for McAleenan, 83 mins)
Referee: Simon Creaney (Newtownwards).