Mark Allen squeezes page Liam Highfield at International Snooker Championship

Mark Allen reacts after beating Liam Highfield
Mark Allen reacts after beating Liam Highfield

Mark Allen squeezed into the second round at the International Championship in China after snatching a dramatic 6-5 win over England’s Liam Highfield.

Allen looked set to exit after Highfield powered into a 5-2 lead in Daqing despite a break of 120 from the Northern Irishman in frame five.

But the Masters champion produced breaks of 127, 125 and a closing 85 to see off the Englishman.

The Antrim man will face Iran’s world number 40 Hossein Vataei next.

World number 58 Highfield moved into a 4-0 lead helped by runs of 79, 93 and 63.

Allen’s first century of the match reduced the deficit to 4-1 and he then snatched frame six despite Highfield’s break of 56.

Stoke native Highfield looked back in firm control as his run 122 increased his lead to 5-2 but then came Allen’s closing heroics as he clinched the final four frames.

Frame nine proved crucial with Allen pinching it 74-60 to reduce the Englishman’s advantage to 5-4.