BANGOR O CRUSADERS 2
It was third time lucky for Crusaders against pluck Championship side Bangor, as they booked their place in the quarter finals of the Irish Cup.
The Crues, who were knocked out of both the League Cup and the County Antrim Shield by the Seasiders, progressed thanks to goals from Dairmuid O’Carroll and Stephen O’Flynn. The only dark spot for Crusaders was Colin Coates’ 68th minute red card. The former international defender was sent-off for a high challenge on Bangor’s Ethan Boylan, clattering through the back of the young forward.
Bangor had the first notable chance of the match in the fourth minute when Andy Hall whipped in a deep cross from the right-flank but Paul McDowell was only able to divert the ball past the post.
Despite that early Bangor opportunity, Crusaders were the dominate force in the first half an hour. Stephen O’Flynn went close in the 11th minute, first forcing Darren Gibbons into a smart save and then Colin Nixon turned his second effort off the line.
Paul Heatley was a constant thorn in Bangor’s side and it was no surprise when he won a penalty in the 17th minute. The talented forward went down under the weight of a Dean Youle tackle, leaving referee Ian McNabb with no chance put to point to the spot.
Dairmuid O’Carroll stepped up and calmly dispatched the ball past Darren Gibbons and into the bottom left-hand corner, to give the Crues the lead.
Bangor’s best chance of the first half came two minutes from time. A defensive mix-up saw Sean O’Neill caught off his line, as Andy Hall rolled the ball into Richard Gibson’s path. The former Glentoran forward tried to lob O’Neill, but the experienced Crusaders goalkeeper parried the ball despite being 15 yards off his line.
Stephen Baxter’s men grabbed the crucial second goal in the 64th minute. Dairmuid O’Carroll’s low cross was fumbled by Darren Gibbons, which allowed Stephen O’Flynn to hammer the ball home from close range, to give Crusaders a two-goal lead.
Bangor’s faint hopes received a boost in the 68th minute when Colin Coates received a straight red card. His high-challenge into the back of Ethan Boylan was an unnecessary headache that Stephen Baxter could have done without. Despite the man advantage, Bangor were unable to find a way back into the cup-tie.
Bangor: Gibbons; Youle, Wray, Nixon, Pike (73 Cooling); Hall, Walsh, McBurney, Long; McDowell (57 Boylan), Gibson
Subs: Steele,Morrow, McCallion
Crusaders: O’Neill; Burns, Coates, Friars, McLean; O’Carroll (86 Peoples), Clarke, Molloy (HT Owens), Adamson; Heatley, O’Flynn (73 Magowan)
Subs: O’Hanlon, Hanley
Ref: Ian McNabb (Carrowdore)