Cliftonville booked their place in the last-16 of the JBE League Cup with victory in a match that will live long in Martin Murray’s memory – even if he would prefer it were instantly forgotten.
Two Davy McDaid goals had the Reds comfortably in control of proceedings against Dundela until, with 10 minutes left on the clock, Murray’s attempted 30-yard pass to his own goalkeeper beat Conor Devlin all ends up.
A stunned silence gripped Solitude as players, fans and officials alike contemplated the reality of having witnessed what must rank as one of the most incredible own goals in Irish League history.
That it did not have an impact on the holders’ chances of progression will come as small relief for Murray, whose overall performance was among the best of those on show.
Dundela’s Scott Dornan shot wide with just a minute on the clock, while Cliftonville’s first real attempt of note was McDaid’s 23rd minute penalty – awarded after Stevie Garrett had been chopped down by Owen Thompson – which broke the deadlock.
Brennan, Murray and Garrett each went close to extending the hosts’ lead before the Duns saw a trio of opportunities go to waste.
First, Adam Neale shot wide with his left foot and, after Gary Irwin had scaled the bar, Neale was once again off target when a pass to Jordan West would surely have led to an equaliser.
Jamie Jackson’s goal-line clearance after James Taylor had failed to properly stop a fierce Garrett shot preserved Cliftonville’s narrow advantage, but the hosts did pull further in front shortly after the interval when McDaid confidently found the bottom corner from McMurray’s assist.
Comfortably in control of proceedings, the Reds never went for the jugular and seemed content to hold what they had, until Murray’s late blooper.
Meanwhile, Premiership sides Warrenpoint Town and Dungannon Swifts eased into the last-16 on Wednesday night.
Warrenpoint saw off Lisburn Distillery 5-1 while Dungannon secured a 3-0 victory over Newington.
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Bonner, McDaid (J. Donnelly 62), Garrett, Brennan, Catney, Begley (Lavery 76), M Murray, Tolan, McMurray (McNicholl 70).
Subs not used: Curran, McMullan.
DUNDELA: Taylor, Thompson, Kerr, Gourley (Walker 76), McClelland, Dornan (Jones 60), Shaw (Jackson 12), Irwin, West, Knipe, Neale.
Subs not used: Bickerstaff, Fox.
REFEREE: Shane Andrews (Comber)