Belfast Telegraph

Lafferty and Mayse pounce in the dying embers to break Ballyclare hearts

Dungannon Swifts 2-1 Ballyclare Comrades

By Adrian Rutherford

Ryan Mayse struck a last-gasp winner to rescue Dungannon in an extraordinary League Cup tie at Stangmore Park.

Rodney McAree's side were heading for a shock exit against Ballyclare after the Championship leaders took the lead with three minutes to go. But goals from Johnny Lafferty and Mayse at the death saw them squeeze into the semis.

The chaotic finish was in stark contrast to the rest of this tie, with both struggling to create.

Ballyclare sub Mark Kelly saw a penalty saved, but otherwise the tie looked destined for extra-time. Then came that extraordinary finale.

The visitors thought they had won it when Adam McCart struck in the 87th minute. But Dungannon levelled two minutes later through Lafferty, who headed home his first for the club.

And with almost the final kick, Mayse won it when his shot deflected in off a defender.

The best chance of a goalless first half fell to Peter McMahon after 32 minutes. He got on the end of a goal-kick and hit a superb first-time shot which was tipped over by Paddy Flood.

Mayse also went close twice in quick succession and continued to look the most likely player to break the deadlock as the second half unfolded. He went close again with a dipping shot from distance. Dungannon winger Rhys Campbell drove into the box and tested the goalkeeper. From the rebound, Mayse appeared to be bundled over - but the Swifts' penalty appeals were rejected. Ballyclare were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute after Kelly was felled in the box.

He opted to take the penalty himself, but Andy Coleman dived the right way to save, before getting up to block the rebound.

Extra-time loomed - but a chaotic finish saw the Swifts squeeze through.

Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Lowe, McMenamin, Clucas, Teggart, Fitzpatrick (Burke, 78), Wilson, Lockhart (Lafferty, 66), Campbell, Mayse, McElroy (McMahon, 29). Subs not used: Addis, Coyle

Ballyclare: Flood, McQuitty (McCart, 58), Brown, Youle, Woods, Parker, Dobbin, Johnston, Nixon, O'Hanlon (McIlveen, 82), Barr (Kelly, 69). Subs not used: Rodgers, Gray

Man of the match: Ryan Mayse

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Lee Tavinder (Cookstown)

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