Goalkeeper Tuda Murphy was the hero as Banbridge Town edged through to round five of the Irish Cup on Saturday.
He saved four penalties as Town won on sudden-death, having been held by Amateur League side Crumlin United at Crystal Park on Saturday.
All four goals coming in the first 25 minutes, the match ended at 2-2 with Conor Downey and Ryan Gourley on target. Neil Barr thought he had won it in extra-time but Crumlin levelled at 3-3 and Tuda’s saves sent Town into the hat for Tuesday’s draw..
The recent rain led to a number of games being postponed but Crystal Park was in great condition and the game went ahead, even though the rain and strong wind made for challenging conditions.
With Chris Kingsberry unavailable, Adam Pedlow came into the side to make his first start in exactly two years.
The game started at frenetic pace with both sides showing their attacking intent from the first whistle. Town’s defence have played a big part in the side’s resurgence but they were undone after 10 minutes when a Crumlin counter-attack resulted in the away team going ahead.
Keeper Tuda Murphy saved the first shot and the rebound was blocked by Stephen Greene but the third shot was fired into the Town goal by Ryan Gorman.
Straight from the re-start, Town were on the attack; Ryan Gourley did well to beat his man on the byline and his cutback picked out Conor Downey but his shot came back off the post.
On 15 minutes, Town were level. Gourley nutmegged the defender and played a one-two with Downey before shooting low into the Crumlin net.
In an action-packed start to the game, the lead was short lived as two minutes later Crumlin went ahead again. A poor clearance fell to the unmarked McIlkenney in the Town area and he made no mistake with his shot.
Stung by this set-back Town went all out for the equaliser. Moffatt headed a Downey cross over then a poor back pass was picked up by Downey but his effort was cleared for a corner.
From the set-piece, the Crumlin keeper punched the ball clear but Pedlow played a delightful floated ball back into the area which Stephen Greene headed over McKeown and into the net.
Four goals, all in the first 25 minutes!
Town continued to attack with Chris McGrath shooting over the bar. Moffatt then set up Downey who looked to have scored when his shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection but the Crumlin keeper somehow managed to keep it out.
Crumlin almost went ahead again early in the second half when a back post header from a corner was cleared off the line by James Wilson.
It was end to end football as a Town move involving Downey, Pedlow and Moffatt ended in a corner from which Stuart Thompson had a great chance to put the home side in front but his header was saved.
Barr replaced Pedlow after 55 minutes and he nearly put Town ahead five minutes later when his header from a Gourley cross was just wide.
Crumlin were dangerous on the counter attack and had two good chances to go ahead but failed to take them. With the 90 minutes almost up and 30 minutes extra time looming, keeper Murphy kept Town in the game saving from a Crumlin player who was through on goal with only the stopper to beat.
Town were on the attack from the start of extra-time with Gourley winning a corner, taken by Moffatt. His delivery was met by Barr but his shot was saved.
Then came what looked to be the all important goal as another Town corner then ended in a goalmouth scramble with Barr forcing the ball over the line to put Town ahead for the first time.
A foul on Moffatt resulted in a free-kick on the left, taken by Downey but his goalbound shot was punched clear by the keeper. The second half of extra time saw Town continuing to attack in search of an insurance goal.
They thought they had another chance when Moffatt was brought down by a high tackle on the right touch line. However, his free kick was cleared upfield. The Crumlin right winger beat Thompson before playing a great ball to his striker who. through one-on-one with the keeper, made no mistake and the sides were level again it would take a penalty shoot out to decide the result.
With light fading, both teams lined up in the centre circle as the ref chose the Coach end goal, the first time anyone could remember that happening.
First up for Banbridge was Stephen Greene and he scored. Crumlin’s first effort was skied over the bar by McGarry. Advantage Town.
Next up was Moffatt who also scored. Gorman scored for Crumlin to make it 2-1.
Conor Downey’s shot was saved by McKeown and Crumlin scored to level.
Stuart Thompson’s penalty was also saved but hero keeper Murphy saved the Crumlin penalty.
Glen Waddell dragged his penalty wide of the left upright so Crumlin had the first chance to win it but Murphy pulled off a great save to keep Town in it. Sudden death!
Ryan Gourley’s penalty was saved and Crumlin players and supporters were sure they were going through but Tuda Murphy saved again.
Up stepped Chris McGrath and his low shot went under McKeown. If Murphy saved Town were through and he didn’t disappoint as he saved Dyer’s shot!
That made it 6-5 to Banbridge and they will be in Tuesday’s fifth round when the Premiership clubs enter the competition.
TOWN: Murphy, Thompson , Greene, Waddell, Wilson, Moffat, Anderson, McGrath, Pedlow (Barr 60), Gourley, Downey. Subs: Croft, Buchanan, Ferguson, Stoddart.