Killyleagh needed extra time to progress to the third round of the Clarence Cup at The Showgrounds on Saturday writes Chris Hagan.
Greenisland, who had been beaten just once in their previous 43 games provided a formidable challenge to the home side. The visitors equalised with 10 seconds of injury time remaining, to take the tie to extra time, but Adam Neale struck twice in extra time to win it for Paul Sharvin’s team.
Sharvin was forced to make a number of changes on Saturday again due to a lengthening injury list.
Nevertheless his side played some attractive football in the first half. Lee Morrison had given them the lead with an absolute beauty in the 20th minute following some great play. Peter Russell played in Decky McComiskey. He laid it off for Morrison to score with the outside of his boot into the top corner.
Island’s best chance came on the half hour mark when Matty Sinclair whipped in a great free kick that was well saved by Aaron Carberry and from the resulting corner, the keeper made a fantastic clearance under pressure.
Five minutes later and Lee Morrison did well to release Ryan Blaney but Neale could not find the finish to his pinpoint cross, with Malone gratefully saving.
Killyleagh had two more good chances before the interval to extend their lead with Jack Sharvin releasing Neale who dragged his shot just wide, with McComiskey unlucky with the follow up.
Play remained that way until the start of the second half. The game was fairly open with Killyleagh going closest shortly after the restart when Neale and McComiskey combined to create a chance for Ryan Blaney but his effort was comfortably saved by Kris Malone.
Greenisland had a golden chance to pull level just after the hour mark but not for the first time they failed to make it count, with Carberry saving from Hamill.
The home side went straight down the field and made it 2-0. Neale did well to flash a shot in and McComiskey was quickly on the rebound to score past Malone.
Within a minute Greenisland had pulled a goal back with sub Jordan Malone finishing well from close range to give Carberry no chance.
That was a signal for Greenisland to take control of the game and pound the Killyleagh backline, showing why they had elimated Premier Section side Albert Foundry in the previous round. Johnny Cheevers was a rock at the back for Killyleagh and he had to be at full stretch on a number of occasions along with Jordan Kennedy and Russell to keep out Malone, the speedy Gareth McGuinness and Shane Richards as Simon Moffatt pulled the strings from midfield.
Sharvin raided his bench at this stage with Barry Treacey introduced for his first game in over three months and then there was a welcome return to action for Jonny Murray for his first game this season after a prolonged injury lay-off.
Greenisland pegged Killyleagh back and at one stage it took a super double block from Cheevers and Jamie Sharvin to keep Greenisland out as Killyleagh were pushed deeper and deeper. How the goal survived in the 81st minute only Hamill will know as he cheekily backheeled another tempting cross from McGuinness inches the wrong side of the upright.
Killyleagh looked to have weathered the storm with Treacey cracking a piledriver inches over in the second minute of injury time. But with the ref about to blow for full time, Greenisland equalised in the 94th minute, Matty Sinclair arrowing home from inside the six yards box as Killyleagh appealed in vain for an offside decision.
At this stage, with Greenisland finishing so strongly and Killyleagh seemingly out on their feet, it looked like there would be only one winner in extra time. But Greenisland had not allowed for the influence of Jamie Sharvin. He rallied his side in the extra period and after Carberry had pushed an effort onto the bar in the fourth minute of extra time, it was Killyleagh who took over. A quick throw in from Jack Sharvin found Neale and he raced beyond his marker to coolly finish.
In the second period of extra time Jack Sharvin went on a solo run before bending a beauty that thundered off the post.
In the final minute Neale added his second, and 24th goal of the season, when he chased the ball to the byline and then weaved his way through to round the keeper and make it 4-2.
Killyleagh’s reward is a place in the third round and a tricky first ever meeting away to newly promoted Portavogie Rangers, who sit just in behind Greenisland at the top of Division 2A.
* The Killyleagh is running a 100 club and has put out an appeal to former players in particular to rally round and support it. Anyone interested should contact Dee Heron, Barney Ross or Dawn Murray.
* All at the club would like to congratulate Darren McConnell and his wife Emma on the birth of their son Ollie. Big sister Georgia is delighted.