It took penalties to separate them, but it was Championship side Portadown who saw off Premiership Newry City AFC at The Showgrounds to set up a mouth-watering clash with David Healy’s Linfield in the quarter-final of the BetMcClean League Cup on Tuesday night.
After Adam McCallum had levelled Darren King’s first half opener for the hosts, extra-time couldn’t find a winner and Ports keeper Declan Dunne saved from Kevin McArdle and Keith Johnston while Portadown converted all four of their efforts.
It was the visitors who began the better of the two sides and should have taken the lead as early as the fifth minute when Conall Morrison broke clear down the left. However, despite being one-on-one with City keeper Andy Coleman, he dragged his left foot shot wide of the right hand post.
Despite the away side looking the more dangerous in the opening quarter of the tie, the more the first half wore on, the more Darren Mullen’s hosts began to come into it.
Johnston whipped the ball in from the left and Darren King rose highest in the box to power his header past Ports keeper Declan Dunne.
It was the Ports who had the opening chance of the second period when Braniff made space on the left to shoot, but Coleman tipped it wide for a corner.
Then McCallum’s bullet header brought Portadown level after 76 minutes with a great finish.
As the tie went into extra-time, Dunne had to be alert to tip over a Stephen Teggart shot on 99 minutes before Stefan Lavery curled just wide from 18 yards a minute later.
Newry City AFC: Coleman, McArdle, King (Healy H-T), Mullen, Boyle, McCann, Walker (S Lavery 19), Teggart, M Hughes, McCabe, Delaney (Johnston 32)
Subs not used: Maguire, Durnin, McCaul, Taylor
Portadown: Dunne, Neill, McCallum, Flynn, C Lavery, Kilmartin, Braniff, Hall, Wilson, Carmichael, Morrison (Salley 59)
Subs not used: Carson, Blair, Thompson, Douglas, Robinson, Tipton
Referee: Andrew Davey