Dungannon S 2 Ballymena Utd 4
Dungannon Swifts player-manager Darren Murphy put sportsmanship before his team’s desperate fight to avoid relegation when he deliberately missed a penalty that could have give his team the lead against Ballymena United.
The Swifts were awarded a spot-kick after 14 minutes of a scoreless first half, which Murphy chose to take himself.
He stepped up and played the ball gently into the arms of Ballymena goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson, after the penalty was awarded because United’s Gavin Taggart had caught the ball in an effort to get attention for injured colleague Chris Rodgers, who was subsequently stretchered off.
Dungannon lost 4-2 after a terrific fightback from 3-0 down, only conceding the fourth goal right at the end when they had all 11 players on attacking duties in the United half, leaving substitute Jamie Davidson an easy task in firing into an empty net.
Swifts looked well beaten when United took a 3-0 lead after 64 minutes with Alan Teggart rounding the keeper for the first goal, Gary McCutcheon heading the second and James Costello firing in a from eight yards for the third.
Swifts were thrown a lifeline when Craig McClean hit a spectacular shot from 25 yards on the left wing to the far top corner with 14 minutes left and Johnny Montgomery bagged the second in a goalmouth scramble after a Harpur corner on 84 minutes.
“We didn’t play like a team sitting second from bottom, we created a lot of chances and, on another day, we would have had something to show for our efforts,” said Murphy afterwards.
Dungannon Swifts: Morgan, O’Neill, Montgomery, E Friars, McClean, Fitzpatrick, Harpur, Murphy, S Friars, Ward, Topley. Subs: McMinn, Funston (for Murphy 70), Lavery (for S Friars 67), McGerrigan, Forker (for Ward 75).
Ballymena United: Nelson, Vauls, Stewart, A Davidson Taggart, McCutcheon, Jenkins, Teggart, Costello, Taylor, Rodgers. Subs: Black (for Rodgers 17), Carson (for Jenkins 77), Munster, J Davidson (for Teggart 78), Lowry
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).