Elvis on song to stun Ballymena
Glenavon 3 Ballymena United 3
For once rival managers were agreed with both declaring: “This was a real Cup tie.”
Not surprisingly however one was more relieved than the other.
Glenavon boss Marty Quinn said: “I’ve a smile on my face because we are still in the Cup.
“With 10 minutes to go I couldn’t see how we were going to get back into it.”
Little wonder. By that stage Ballymena supporters were already celebrating a place in the semi-final and with good reason.
Their heroes were leading 3-1 and to all intents and purposes the game was done and dusted.
But then football really is a funny old game.
And hey presto within two minutes of Andy Smith having slotted home United’s third goal to add to Kevin Kelbie’s penalty and a rasping drive from Michael Smith, Glenavon hit back.
Trevor Molloy who had sensationally fired the home side in front against the run of play with a 14th minute penalty awarded for Chris Ramsay’s trip on James Costello, struck again.
Carelessness allowed Costello’s chip into the box to run to the back post and the energetic Dubliner gleefully tucked the ball home.
And there was worse to come because with only four minutes remaining Costello produced a magical strike he’s unlikely ever to repeat, not if he plays until he's 50!
Cutting in from the left touchline and with colleagues begging for a pass the man fans christened Elvis unleashed a rocket which whistled past a helpless Dwayne Nelson.
Suddenly Mourneview Park was rocking, well one side of the ground anyway. At the other only silence and a sense of disbelieve.
The big question now was could Glenavon, having already pulled off what looked like the impossible, produce a miracle?
Not quite but United boss Roy Walker conceded: “Yes I was a little anxious because it’s all about momentum and their tails were up.
“Costello’s was a wonder goal and sometimes you just have to put up your hands and say well done.
“Yet it was very disappointing to go home not being in the next round. If you look at the game objectively we played well and held the balance of play.
“It was an entertaining game with six goals but at 3-1 up we didn’t hold on to the lead long enough.
“We’re disappointed but we live to fight another day.”
Quinn had the last word: “Ballymena will be hurting so they will be up for it on Tuesday. But then so will we.”
Kick-off at The Showgrounds incidentally is 8.00pm.