Gary Taylor’s Portstewart made hard work of their Intermediate Cup tie against Donegal Celtic on Saturday.
Despite bossing the tie from start to finish, it took extra time and penalties to separate the sides, with the local side making it through into the next round.
David Healy put the Seasiders ahead ten minutes into the second half, but with two minutes left Donegal Celtic, who had been reduced to nine men, put the tie into extra time with one of very few chances of the game.
In normal time, chances from Ryan Doherty, Stuart Millar, Steven O’Neill, Chris Hanson and Emmet Dysart went a-begging as the visiting keeper pulled off save after save to keep his side in the tie.
In extra time Lee Forgrave and Ryan Doherty came close, but it took penalties to separate the sides.
“I would say that they had six shots, and five of those were penalties,” joked Taylor. “Their keeper was superb, he pulled off save after save. There’s no point in us dwelling on those missed chances, we are through and that’s all that counts at this stage,” said the Ports boss.
Portstewart now face a home tie against Wakehurst this Saturday in the next round.
“The League is still very much our focus, but I have to say it is nice to still be in the Cup,” admitted Taylor
“We rested Craig Moore and Johnny Stewart on Saturday, and it was good for Chris [Hanson] and David [Healy] to get a full game.
“They both proved that they are very capable players and that we can rely on them.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s tie with Wakehurst, Taylor added: “We played Wakehurst in the first match of the season.
“They scored in the last minute of the game to claim a draw.
“They have a new manager in and to be honest Saturday will be an unknown for us. We’ll treat it like any other game and give it our best shot.”
Portstewart will return to League action on Saturday, February 6 when they entertain Banbridge: “To be honest my eyes are firmly on this tie,” admitted Taylor.
“Banbridge are down there fighting with us. We now have three games in hand, so it is important that we beat the teams around us.
“After Banbridge we play Glebe - these are the games we need to be focusing on.”