Keith Gillespie was an interested spectator on Saturday as he watched his home town club Bangor crash out of the Irish Cup the the expense of underdogs Queen’s University.
The Championship 2 side booked their place in the semi-finals with a heroic 3-2 victory at The Dub.
The former Northern Ireland winger would have been proud of the two stunning free-kicks that Mark Prenter scored to help book Queen’s a date with Ballymena United on April 5.
Prenter could easily have doubled his tally from dead ball situations as he was denied by the crossbar on one occasion and by a superb stop from Bangor goalkeeper Darren Gibbons on another.
Queen’s manager Peter Thompson heaped praise on his two strikers after the game as his side made history by reaching the semi finals for the first time.
“I thought Mark and James (Lavery) were fantastic but I did’t put any pressure on them to perform before the game.” he explained.
“However, I did say that if we were to get anything from the game then we would need the top two to be firing on all cylinders to make their defenders panic.
“The instructions to the guys was to avoid playing balls in the air because if we did than then players like Colin Nixon and Dean Youle would eat them up.
“The players acted on that and never once did we look for the over-the-top ball and instead we always looked to pass it through the lines.”
Thompson and his backroom team certainly did their homework on Bangor who had dismissed Premiership side Warrenpoint Town in the last 16.
“Maybe it’s because I come from a teaching background but I’m very much of the opinion that preparation is the key and if you don’t prepare right then you’ll get nothing.” he added.
“We had detailed reports on Bangor and I knew how they were going to play and when we saw their team sheet the only difference was that their usual two wide men weren’t on it.
“After Mark’s first goal we conceded a soft one and after that they were pushing us a bit and it was good to get to half time at one-all and be able to regroup.”
Prenter got his first in the 22nd minute when he curled a delightful shot into the roof of the net before Nixon equalised for Bangor.
Prenter’s second in the 58th minute was even better than his first as he floated a superb shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards out.
With seven minutes remaining Youle was adjudged to have fouled Stephen McDowell in the box and James Ferrin sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Andy Hall was sent off in the 87th minute for a wild challenge on Lavery but 10-man Bangor pulled one back late on when Jordan Forsythe scored from spot.
But there was barely time to restart the game and now Queen’s can look forward to the Ballymena game next month.