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Ards and Institute are all set for Cup final showdown


Spot on: Ben Browne hit the winning penalty for Ards

Spot on: Ben Browne hit the winning penalty for Ards

© Mervyn McClelland/Presseye

Spot on: Ben Browne hit the winning penalty for Ards

Ards and Institute both secured their places in the final of the Intermediate Cup after late semi-final wins over Knockbreda and Ballyclare Comrades respectively.

At Solitude, Ards midfielder Ben Browne hit the winning penalty in a shoot-out after Jack Upritchard and Kyle Owens exchanged goals in normal time.

Ards opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the game when Rory Carson pushed the ball into the path of Upritchard, who, on his first start for the club, took it into his stride before slotting past keeper Steven McKay.

If Niall Currie's players thought they were in for an easy night, they were soon disappointed. The Red & Blues were unable to add to their tally with Carl McComb hitting the foot of the post in the eighth minute and Gary Dorrian missing from six yards in first-half stoppage time.

If the first-half belonged to Ards, the second was all about Knockbreda.

Owens scored an equaliser in the 52nd minute, turning in a free-kick into the box from close range. Breda pushed for a winner but Ards goalkeeper Liam McAuley showed a safe pair of hands as the tie eventually progressed to penalties.

In the shoot-out, Jordan Hughes gave Breda the lead, before Tommy Lambe levelled.

Simon Hanna and David McCullough then netted and Knockbreda's Daniel Burns blasted well over the crossbar before Ards' Gary Warwick was denied by McKay.

McAuley then made a fine save, pushing away Owens' shot, and McComb put Ards in front meaning that, after Richard Gibson had scored Breda's final effort, Browne won the tie.

Institute beat Ballyclare Comrades 1-0 after extra-time at Mill Meadow, with Comrades aces Jonny McClurg and Gary Brown both receiving red cards in normal time. With eight minutes left in extra-time, Stephen O'Donnell fired Stute into the final, which is expected to be played on May Day.

Belfast Telegraph