Loughgall 3 – 1 Hanover

Holders Loughgall saw off the spirited challenge of Hanover to book their place in the semi-finals of this seasons Bob Radcliffe Cup.

The Villagers showed great character to play for almost an hour with only ten men after Aaron Walsh was shown a red card for a second week in a row by the same referee, Paul Burns.

Loughgall missed a great chance to open the scoring after only three minutes when Daniel Ryan had clear sight of goal after a defensive mistake however the forward fired narrowly past the post from inside the penalty area.

The opening goal came in the 23rd minute and it was an excellent attacking move; Marcus Dallas spread a perfect ball left to Jamie Rea and his first-time cross was finished low at the front post by Warner Mullen.

Shortly after Walsh received his second caution, and subsequent dismissal, for a late challenge Loughgall goalkeeper Gareth Buchanan had to be alert to deny Hanover striker Justy Bradley after he beat the offside trap.

The visitors equalised in the 64th minute through ex-Loughgall striker Bradley; he was quickest to react to Chris Elliott’s fantastic 30 yard shot that crashed off the post to tap home from close range.

The Villagers regained their lead on 73 minutes through an excellent free-kick from Warner Mullen when the striker side footed low into the corner with Hanover ‘keeper Matthew Shorty unsighted until it was too late.

One minute later Hanover almost equalised when Bradley struck the crossbar from close range, and then one minute after that they missed an even better chance to level as Wilson Taveres was adjudged to have fouled Thai Blevins inside the penalty area. Loughgall ‘keeper Buchanan saved Elliott’s low penalty to his right and then saved the follow-up effort as well.

On 76 minutes Loughgall midfielder Matthew McMahon did excellently to beat Hanover defender Chris Kerr to the loose ball before going clear through however he couldn’t keep his effort on target as it crept into the side netting.

Loughgall made sure of their progression to the semi-final stage when Dallas showed great determination to win the ball in midfield before playing a superb through-ball that allowed Ryan to smash home from inside the penalty area.

Both sides continued to threaten and they both hit the post in last ten minutes. Firstly Hanover striker Bradley finished a swift counter-attack with his right-footed effort coming back off the upright. And then the hosts midfielder McMahon must be wondering what he has to do to score his first goal as a Loughgall player as he connected with Jamie Rea’s corner delivery from six yards out but saw it crash against the post and away to safety.

Loughgall: Buchanan, Taveres (Boyle 85m), Mallon, Hudson, Taylor, Dallas (Ferguson 81m), McMahon, Walsh, Mullen (Dane 90m), Ryan, Rea. Unused subs: Uprichard, Greenaway.

Hanover: Shorty, McKinney, Rooney (Foster 85m), Cochrane, C Kerr, Elliott, Blevins, McCullough, Bradley, McIlveen, Sergeant (W Kerr 81m). Unused subs: Smyth.

Referee: Paul Burns.