NFC Kesh 1 Lisnarick 1

(Kesh won 5-3 on pens)

NFC Kesh needed penalties before finally seeing off Lisnarick in a well contested Mulhern Cup tie at Michael Connolly Park on Saturday.

A dogged and determined Lisnarick outfit made life difficult for the home side throughout and in the end they only made their exit following the dreaded shoot out.

Kesh manager Nicky Noble was just pleased to come through the tie and progress to the next round and an away game against Mountfield.

“I think if we could have got a second goal we would have kicked on but it was one of those days when we hit the crossbar a number of times and missed a few chances. You have to give Lisnarick credit too, they set out to defend and they battled hard and in fairness they had a couple of chances of their own.

“From our point of view though we are happy to be through,” said Noble.

Lisnarick boss Niall Amos admitted he could not have asked for any more from his players.

“We put so much into our organisation, keeping our shape and staying in the game, I couldn’t have asked the boys to give any more. When it goes to penalties it is a lottery and Ross pulled off a great save in the shoot out,” he said.

Promotion though is Amos’ main goal and his side can clinch that this Saturday.

“That’s always been the top target and if we win on Saturday against Enniskillen Rovers we are up,” he added.

Kesh had enjoyed the greater share of the possession but they struggled to break down a compact and disciplined Lisnarick rearguard.

However, they did go close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute when Grant Ellis got his head to the ball but he was denied by the woodwork while Darren McQuade then headed over from a Ryan Morris free.

And the home side did go on to take the lead from the penalty spot as Walker fired home after defender John Deward was adjudged to have handled in the box.

Lisnarick though responded well to this set back and sharp shooter Niall Gormley had an effort saved by Ross McClelland in the Kesh goal before the underdogs did find an equaliser.

Former Kesh man Niall McMenamin slipped in Gormley and attacker made no mistake on this occasion as he finished past McClelland to leave it 1-1 at half time.

Indeed, the visitors were close to taking the lead in the second half when another former Kesh player Alvin Anderson clipped a free kick from 20 yards that required a fine save from McClelland.

Kesh went searching for a winner after this but both Mark McCauley and Walker both found the crossbar while Mark Jones wasted a fine chance at the back post.

And with time nearly up Lisnarick almost snatched the victory when McMenamin met a Gormley cross but his goal bound header was brilliantly saved by McClelland.

Extra time was a tense affair with Lisnarick goalkeeper TJ Mulkin who had a fine afternoon, denying Josh Flack while at the other end Gormley saw an attempt drop on to the roof of the net.

In the end penalties were required to separate the sides and Kesh scored all five of theirs while McClelland saved from Gormley to send the home side through.