Ballinamallard Res 2

Enniskillen Town 2 (aet)

(Town won 4-2 on pens)

Enniskillen Town needed penalties to see off the challenge of a very youthful Ballinamallard Reserves side following an entertaining Junior Cup encounter under the lights at Ferney Park last Saturday night.

The Mallards had twice come from behind, including a goal from Jake Browne right at the death in extra time, but it was Town who progressed as they produced four superb penalty kicks to seal the victory.

“I thought that it was a proper cup tie between two sides who tried to play the game the right way. They have some very good young players,” said Town boss Rory Judge.

“From our point of view, we felt the game probably shouldn’t have gone beyond the 90 minutes, never mind to penalties but the important thing was to be in the hat for the next round and we achieved that. It is good to still be in the cup after Christmas and the boys will look forward to the next round,” he added.

Ballinamallard manager Darren Higginbotham was very proud of the efforts of his side on the night.

“We are disappointed to have lost but I’m extremely proud of the players. Enniskillen Town are a good team and we knew we would have to be at our best to get a result. Apart from the opening 20 minutes, I felt we were very good but we maybe were just not clinical enough with our chances.

“I would say though that the cup run has been a good success for us, it has exposed our players to adult football and that is what we wanted from it,” he said.

It was the away side who started the stronger and Seamus Quigley fired over from an early free kick while William Simpson got on the end of Conall Quinn corner but his header was saved by goalkeeper Josh Brownlee.

Town again threatened in the 12th minute as Quigley ushered Mark Little in on the right hand side but he failed to apply the finish.

Quigley was next to have a chance for Town as he got on the end of a Conall Quinn ball over the top but he lobbed the ball over the bar.

However, as the half progressed the home side started to settle to the task with their pace causing problems for a Town side who suffered a blow when key defender Nicky Dunbar was forced off after 18 minutes with an injury.

Balinamallard’s first real chance of the game fell soon after when Jamal Tavares was put through on the left but he was denied by Gary Doherty in the Town goal.

The lively Lorcan McGrady, who was linking up well with Simon Warrington and Matthew Dixon then blazed from 25 yards while at the other end Quigley fired at Brownlee as it remained 0-0 at half time.

The Mallards, with Jacob Britton influential in the middle of the park, began the second half well with McGrady robbing Paul Coalter but he shot into the sidenetting.

And within a minute Ballinamallard found themselves a goal down.

Town forced a corner at the other end and substitute Stephen Quinn rose to head home Stephen Clarke’s cross to put the Enniskillen side ahead.

Quigley then headed over from a Conall Quinn free kick but Ballinamallard refused to buckle and it required a great tackle from Little to deny Warrington before the Mallards grabbed an equaliser in the 72nd minute.

McGrady did well on the left and when his cross was spilled by Doherty, substitute Shea Devlin was alert to prod home from close range.

Indeed, Devlin had a wonderful chance to put the home side ahead moments later but on this occasion Doherty made the save.

It was end to end after this with Town denied a penalty after Brownlee appeared to take down Clarke while McGrady saw his effort saved by Doherty in the other penalty area.

With neither side able to find a winner the tie went to extra time and it looked as if it was going Town’s way when Adam Breen steered home a header at the back post in the first period.

However, Ballinamallard continued to battle and with the game in added on time of extra time Browne was found in space in the box and he swept home to send the contest to penalties.

It was Town though who were to hold their nerve the better with four clinicially dispatched efforts and when Doherty saved two Ballinamallard attempts it brought an end to cracking contest.