Late Ballymena show stuns Cliftonville

Cliftonville's Peter Cherrie looks on as Ballymena's David Cushley scores
Cliftonville's Peter Cherrie looks on as Ballymena's David Cushley scores

CLIFTONVILLE 1 BALLYMENA UNITED 2

Ballymena United boss Glenn Ferguson knew his side were in the Irish Cup quarter-finals from the moment David Cushley’s injury-time free-kick left his boot.

Ferguson had the perfect view as the strike rocketed through the air and into the top corner to settle a tie which, just minutes earlier, had been poised to end in despair for the Sky Blues.

Trailing to George McMullan’s 47th minute penalty, Ballymena levelled when a deflected Cushley effort found the net bang on 90 minutes - but there was still time for further drama and an even later winner.

“I was right behind it and I knew it was in all the way,” said Ferguson.

“It was a great strike, probably the best goal you’ll see anywhere this season. To be honest, I would have settled for extra time after getting the equaliser but, once Cush hit that second one, I knew straight away where it was going.”

CLIFTONVILLE: Cherrie, McGovern, Scannell, McMullan, M Donnelly, Smyth, Catney, Winchester, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Bayly (Winchester, 85 mins), Knowles, Murray, Bonner, McCarron (J Donnelly, 90 mins).

BALLYMENA: Allen, Ervin, McNally, Taylor, McBride, Gawley, Kane, Jenkins, Cushley, McCutcheon, Tipton. Subs: Nelson, Boyce (Gawley, 68 mins), Thompson (McCutcheon, 68 mins), Teggart, McCaul.

REFEREE: Colin Burns (Comber)