Premiership sides advance to second round in League Cup

Portadown's Mark McAllister and Annagh's Stephen Acheson during tonight's game at Tandragee Road in Portadown.
Portadown's Mark McAllister and Annagh's Stephen Acheson during tonight's game at Tandragee Road in Portadown.

While there were some shocks on Monday night in the Wasp Solutions League Cup second round, the majority of Danske Bank Premierhip sides defeated their Championship opponents.


Victor Gordon reports

A late two-goal burst by Annagh United gave the Portadown-based junior side the air of respectability their industry deserved in this otherwise one-sided game against their senior cross-town opponents.

The goals came in the last five minutes from Matthew Paget and a Garry Breen own-goal when a cross by Paul Stratton put the big central defender under pressure.

Up until then it was all Portadown, who hit three goals in a hectic last 15 minutes – two from Darren Murray (one a penalty) and other from Mark McAllister which sealed it.

Ports boss Ronnie McFall paid the Championship Two team the respect of fielding his strongest team, with new signing Michael Gault making his debut, and the result was never in doubt.

It was 2-0 at half-time, with 25-yard cracking goals from Peter McMahon and Robert Garrett, and while Annagh played to the best of their ability, the gret5 gulf in class was always evident.


Stephen Alexander at The Showgrounds

Ballymena United earned a comfortable passage into the third round of the WASP Solutions League Cup with a 3-0 win over CHampionship Two side Newington.

Darren Boyce had United’s first opening in the first minute but after making space for himself in the penalty area, his fiercely struck shot came back off the chest of Newington keeper Dean Smyth, who knew little about it but did well to keep the effort out.

United threatened again on eight minutes as Alan Teggart burst clear and rounded the keeper but his shot lacked power and was cleared off the line by covering defender Liam Bradley.

At the other end, full-back Desy McClean’s long-range shot beat United keeper Dwayne Nelson but hit the side netting.

The senior side went ahead on 25 minutes when Tony Kane fired a stunning 25-yard free kick past the motionless keeper.

The visitors almost got back on level terms five minutes before the break after debutant Brian McCaul lost possession in the centre circle and Newington broke quickly, culminating in Kevin O’Neill firing a shot inches wide of Nelson’s goal.

Ballymena doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when McCaul’s through ball saw Darren Boyce beat the offside trap and confidently slotted past the advancing Smyth.

United clinched their place in round three with a third goal on 69 minutes when Tony Kane’s ball released Tipton who lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper before a sickening collision between both players, who required treatent.

Ballymena United: Nelson, Harris, Munster (sub Taylor 56), Stewart, Ruddy, T Kane, Thompson (sub Tipton 20, sub Cushley 70), Surgenor, Teggart, Boyce, McCaul. Subs (not used): Taggart, Gawley.

Newington YC: Smyth, R Brannigan, McClean, O’Kane, Adams, O’Neill (sub Finlay 64), Burns (sub Glenholmes 29), Gilgunn, Niblock, Bradley, C Brannigan. Subs (not used): Rafferty, McMenamin.

Referee: Peter McGrath (Newtownabbey)


Mark Armstrong at Mourneview

Glenavon buzzed through to the next round of the WASP Solutions League Cup after putting in a workman like performance against Lisburn Distillery.

The Whites took a shock 16th minute lead through Darren Smyth. Glenavon’s James McGrath had blocked a shot but as the ball came in from the right the goalkeeper was helpless to prevent the striker scoring from 12 yards.

But their goal was very much against the run of play and the teams were level 10 minutes later. Kevin Braniff’s effort was stopped by Ryan McBride, however Gary Hamilton was on hand to equalise with the follow-up.

Adam Foley, making his first start for the Lurgan Blues, forced McBride into tipping a shot over the bar after good play from Eddie McCallion and Andy McGrory. The midfielder then smashed the bar in the second half as the Premier League side began to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

They took the lead with 13 minutes left to go when a Hamilton free kick was flicked into the net by Rhys Marshall’s head.

And in stoppage time substitute Andy Hoey slotted home a third thanks to a pass across goal from Guy Bates.


Steven Crawford at The Showgrounds

Coleraine progressed into the second round of the Wasp Solutions League Cup with a win over Larne at The Showgrounds.

First half goals from Ian Parkhill and Neil McCafferty and a late third from Shane McGinty were enough to put the Championship side to the sword.

The Bannsiders made a bright start to the game and edged in front on 17 minutes as Ian Parkhill netted from close range. Five minutes later it was 2-0 as Neil McCafferty curled home a delightful free kick.

Larne responded as Paul Maguire clipped a shot off the crossbar on the half hour mark. Five minutes later he drew a good stop from Eugene Ferry.

Coleraine squandered an excellent opportunity to put the game to bed on 55 minutes after Ruairi Harkin was brought down in the box, but Gary Browne’s spot kick was saved by John Connolly.

With a minute to go McGinty surged at the home defence before releasing Harkin. His shot was parried by Connolly and McGinty cheekily backheeled the rebound into the empty net.


Laure James at Seaview

Crusaders asserted themselves to comprehensively come back from behind against Championship 2 side, Glebe Rangers.

Two goals each for Diarmuid O’Carroll, Jordan Owens, and substitute Kyle Dillon, dispatched Rangers out of the League Cup’s second round.

The number of regular first-team players, deployed by Stephen Baxter at this stage in the competition, showed Crusaders were taking matters seriously, and were right to.

It didn’t take long for Glebe Rangers to demonstrate they meant business, with Karl Steele’s precision header.

They had already tussled to win some early balls, with winger Jackie Morrison pushing hard for the opener.

In response, Craig McClean provided a good cross for Owens who put his effort over the bar, Peter Spratt was in position to bully summer signing O’Carroll and Stephen Cockroft made some good runs in behind. Gavin Whyte’s strike then just flashed past goal.

The visitors moved exactly where and when they needed to, often showing better organisation than the Crues, who huffed and puffed their way through much of the first half.

Spratt continually blocked, closed down and kept the pressure on Crusaders’ front line, frustrating Owens in particular.

Their break came when Colin Burns harshly adjudged Spratt to have handled the ball inside the area, and after O’Carroll converted, it soon became the home side’s game, and the Crues hit back again on 28 minutes.

Owens’ lovely low, fast finish, came after some strong combination play down the right flank with Whyte.

As the cracks started to show in their defence, O’Carroll bagged his brace against Glebe Rangers, the ex-Cliftonville ace looping one over.

Goalkeeper Brian Kane did well to prevent further damage, stopping a 35-yard screamer from Nathan Hanley, denying O’Carroll a first-half hat-trick from close range and diving to stop a dangerous loose ball.

It was Owens’ turn to chalk up a second, heading in the rebound from Steele’s goal-line clearance, and his shift was rewarded with a break on the bench, as Timmy Adamson replaced him.

Good work from Cockcroft set Dillon up comfortably to head in Crues’ fifth, 10 minutes from time, before sliding in to ship home a cross just a minute later.

CRUSADERS: O’Neill, Burns, Hanley (Cleary, 78) Magowan, McClean, Snoddy, Clarke, Whyte (Dillon, 67), Cockroft, O’Carroll, Owens (Adamson, 64).

Subs not used: O’Hanlon, Dempstyer.

GLEBE RANGERS: Kane, Steele, Dobbin, Sheppard, Spratt, Brace (McVicker, 64), Marks, Kennoway, Wilkinson, Tosh (McDowell, 49), Morrison.

Subs not used: Shaw, McCullough.

Referee: Colin Burns