Belfast Telegraph

My Lidl boys can land the Shield: Baxter

By Billy Weir

Stephen Baxter will reach for one more piece of slingshot as he seeks to upset the odds again and bring the Co Antrim Shield back to Seaview.

They reached an October 30 decider with Glentoran last night by doing it the hard way, beating Ballymena United on the Braidmen's home patch and coming from behind to do it.

United teenager Johnny Flynn gave United the lead but two classy strikes from David Rainey turned the game on it's head and had Baxter thinking of another David in the final.

"It's a David v Goliath tie, they're on millionaires' row, we shop at Lidl," he smiled.

"We pick boys up from Ballynure who don't even get paid, lads who are playing for the love of it.

"We work hard at what we do, these lads love the game, we encourage them to do well and you're proud of the when they play like that and to make the first final of the season is a big thing for them.

"That's what the Darren Lockharts and Eamon Dohertys were saying to them before the game, go and reach your first senior final, and they did it.

"They don't come any bigger than Glentoran or Linfield and they've got the quality in depth, the big name players and goals in abundance.

"We will go into that game with pride and young energy and wanting to give a good account of ourselves. It's over 90 minutes, it's 11 v 11 and we don't really care who we play. We're delighted to be in a final, we're worthy winners and we'll go and take a good game to Glentoran."

There was one downside for the Crues, influential defender Andy Hunter was carried off with a serious knee injury and it will now be fingers crossed for all concerned that he lines up for the final.

And that could well apply to underfire United boss Tommy Wright, who was booed as he left the pitch as the Braid natives become evermore restless.

Wright though is refusing to budge: "We were excellent in the first-half and really should have made more of the chances we had, but we hit the bar and had one cleared off the line.

"I won't walk away, some of the supporters might want to push me, but not the board. They're all disappointed, we're all working at this together, but if there comes a stage where they don't want me anymore, I can't do anything about that."

Belfast Telegraph


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