CRUSADERS 1 GLENAVON 1
(Glenavon win 3-1 after extra time)
An extra-time double whammy from Mark Patton and Ciaran Martyn earned Glenavon a spot in next month’s Irish Cup final.
This fascinating semi final at Windsor Park looked destined for a penalty kick shootout until substitute Patton blasted home a beauty with only six minutes left.
Then Martyn hit his second goal of the day to guarantee the Lurgan Blues a big day out against Ballymena United on May 3.
It all started so well for Stephen Baxter’s Crusaders, with little Paul Heatley shooting them into the lead.
But Martyn levelled early in the second half. Both sides then missed numerous chances to win it.
Heatley struck the opener on 14 minutes. He was sent hurtling through the middle by Richard Clarke and, after rounding Rhys Marshall, he cleverly rolled the ball under the diving body of McGrath.
The Lurgan Blues fans were on their feet six minutes from the interval when Guy Bates buckled under a clumsy challenge from Davy Magowan. Referee Arnold Hunter immediately awarded a penalty kick.
Tiarnan Mulvenna stepped up only to see his spot kick superbly saved by O’Neill.
Then, in first half injury time, McGrory’s cross landed on the head of Mulvenna, but Magowan somehow got back to deflect clear.
The Lurgan Blues finally levelled on 65 minutes. as Martyn’s rasping drive roared into the top corner, well out of the reach of O’Neill.
Owens almost won it with six minutes left but his left foot shot rolled inches wide.
Patton possibly had an even better opportunity right at the finish when he was sent clear by Andy McGrory but his shot was pushed past the post by O’Neill, with Gary Hamilton totally free in the middle.
Owens really should have shot the Crues into the lead on 98 minutes when Hanley broke down the left before cutting the ball back for the little defender, whose shot was deflected clear off the boot of McGrath.
They had an even better opportunity on 105 minutes when referee Hunter again pointed to the spot after Lindsay had pulled back Clarke inside the box.
But McGrath produced a wonderful save from Morrow’s penalty.
Patton shot Glenaon in front with only six minutes of extra-time left and Martyn then grabbed his second goal of the match on 117 minutes, after a wonderful piece of play from Bates.