Cliftonville clinched a 2-1 win over Ballymena in the County Antrim Shield at Windsor Park after a miraculous comeback in the dying minutes of injury time!
Cliftonville went into the game as favourites based on their form in the Premier League this season, however they lost their last two games against Linfield and Carrick Rangers which saw drop from the top spot in the league to fifth place, but they are only three points behind leaders Glentoran.
Ballymena started the game without skipper Jim Ervin, who was injured during their 3-0 loss to Glenavon at the Showgrounds last weekend. Cliftonville made a great start to the game with McMenamin taking a couple of strikes, but it was Ballymena who had the best chance to go ahead when a James Knowles free-kick caused consternation in the Reds box and almost allowed Lecky to break the deadlock. Next a wicked corner was headed goalward by Friel and blocked on the line.
Cliftonville were first to grab a goalscoring opportunity in the second half when Donnelly after a quickfire break from McMenamin and Gormley had a chance to put one in but he hesitated and was crowded out. Ballymena broke the deadlock when Millar scored from close range after a beautiful cross from Andy McGrory
Millar fired wide moments later before Gormley looked to equalise as the game opened up but Williamson pulled off a brilliant save at his near post. Cliftonville kept pressing but defender Addis kept all their attempts at bay.
When it was announced that there was seven minutes injury time added, this give Cliftonville hope that they could turn their fortunes around.Ballymena had chances to seal it before the board showed seven minutes of injury time. Williamson made a great save for Ballymena in the 95th minute when he stopped a McMenamin shot but he couldn’t keep Maguire’s shot out shortly after which saw the sides level. But literally seconds later, Cliftonville substitute Ryan Curran fired a shot inside the box to put them 2-1 ahead with seconds left on the clock and no time for Ballymena to recover.
An incredible come back for the Reds and now they will continue their campaign for the league title race and Irish Cup.
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