ORCHARD FARM rode their luck to book their place in the next round of the Coca-Cola Junior Cup, after a man of the match performance from their goalkeeper Richard Smyton.
Magheraveely manager Rodney McVitty conceded that his team had met a keeper bang in form here, and after a number of chances over the 90 minutes, the home side just couldn't find an equaliser, with Orchard Farm progressing to the next round of the cup.
It was a very even affair for the opening ten minutes with both sides starting a little tentatively. The hosts settled the better of the two teams though, and went close early on when Warren Stewart was sent through one on one with the keeper, only for Richard Smyton to make a smart stop.
Orchard Farm then went close themselves soon after when Ryan Sharkey played Dwayne Keenan in, but he failed to beat the keeper from close range.
They did manage to take the lead though midway through the half, perhaps against the run of play. Keenan made up for his earlier miss when he cut in from the right flank and unleashed a thumping shot into the top corner to give the away side the advantage.
Magheraveely responded well from that setback, and Warren Stewart had another one on one with the keeper, but Smyton was again equal to it in the Orchard Farm goal. The hosts were enjoying a good spell of possession though, and a swift counter attack five minutes before the break left them level pegging, when Matthew Irwin kept his cool to beat the keeper and restore parity.
The home side then had a another great chance to take the lead right on half time, but Mark Adams saw his effort tipped onto the post by Smyton to leave the sides level at the interval.
Orchard Farm came out the better in the second period after a sluggish end to the first half, with Niall Bradley and Keenan going close in the opening ten minutes. Indeed the away side did take the lead five minutes later, and in bizarre circumstances. Stuart Armstrong hit a free kick from inside his own half, and it evaded everyone including the Magheraveely keeper to nestle in the net to give the visitors the lead once again.
Magheraveely settled again though, and began to dominate proceedings once again. Matthew Irwin went close when his free kick was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Orchard keeper Smyton, before the visiting keeper then saved smartly from Paul McConkey.
The hosts were creating chance after chance, and when a Robert Wiggins shot finally beat the Orchard goalkeeper, his effort was cleared off the line by Scott Armstrong. It was looking like one of those days in front of goal for Magheraveely with Richard Smyton in fine form.
Magheraveely kept pressing in search of a late equaliser, but when Gary Elliott was denied not once but twice late on by Smyton, the game was up for the home side, with Orchard holding out to secure their place in the next round.
Orchard Farm manager Stuart Armstrong was very pleased with the result. He said, "We're really pleased with the result, because we've had better performances in recent weeks and not got the result we deserved, so to not play as well and get that bit of luck here is pleasing." As for Magheraveely manager Rodney McVitty, he believed it was just one of those games. He said, "It was one of those where we created a number of great chances, but we met a goalkeeper in brilliant form and he pulled off a number of fine stops. All the best to Orchard Farm though, they've got the victory and we wish them luck in the next round."