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Defiant Dunmurry give the mighty Blues a cup fright

Holders Linfield finally saw off the brave resistance of Amateur League side Dunmurry Rec in their Irish Cup sixth round replay at Windsor Park — but it was far from convincing.

David Jeffrey’s men diced with danger on occasions with Jamie Mulgrew heading off the line twice.

Defender Steven Douglas opened the scoring in the first-half before Philip Lowry’s second-half brace ensured a last eight clash with Dungannon Swifts.

Dunmurry came out of both games with immense credit, however, and should the Blues retain their crown, they won’t forget 120 minutes of nervous tension.

The Blues were clearly in no mood to continue their recent slump and they went close to opening the scoring after only 23 seconds with Lowry denied by the acrobatics of Dunmurry ‘keeper, Philip Warnock.

However, the Amateur League side were more than happy to pile numbers forward on the counter attack and on seven minutes Paddy Rooney’s effort was touched wide by Alan Blayney.

From the resulting corner, Jamie Mulgrew cleared a Richard Rutherford header off the line.

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Dunmurry’s Gary Hewitt was lucky to escape with only a yellow card for a wild lunge on Michael Gault and then Gault had his name taken for a late challenge on Paul Redpath as tempers started to fray.

The air of tension was slightly eased for the holders on 23 minutes, though, when they took the lead — from an unlikely source.

Curtis Allen’s corner was only half-cleared and the ball broke to Douglas, 10 yards out in the centre of the penalty area, and he lashed home a fierce strike.

That proved the catalyst for the emergence of a more confident Linfield but, on the stroke of the interval,Hewitt’s free-header from a drilled corner by the visitors, hit Aidan O’Kane before being cleared.

The Blues came closest to scoring immediately after the break and the second goal arrived on 65 minutes with Lowry having the simplest of tasks in heading in substitute Michael Carvill’s pinpoint cross from six yards.

Dunmurry never gave up, though, and Redpath’s back-post snap shot was deflected over by Blayney on 68 minutes and from the resulting corner, Mulgrew was there again, this time to deny Colin Kerr. Lowry’s stunning strike finally put the tie to bed with five minutes left as the Blues dragged themselves into the quarter-finals.

LINFIELD: Blayney, Ervin, Douglas, Murphy, O’Kane, Garrett, Mulgrew, Gault, Lowry (Tomelty), Thompson (Munster 75), Allen (Carvill 62). Subs not used: A Burns, Tomelty, Casement.

DUNMURRY REC: Warnock, Fenton (Moore 83), McDonnell, Larkin, Kerr, Hewitt, Redpath (Finnegan 72), Lennon, Rutherford, Arnott, Rooney (Hughes 75). Subs not used: Clarke, Larmour.

Referee: Colin Burns (Belfast)

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