Valley men are history makers

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Valley men are history makers thumbnailMatchwinner Davy Little salutes the travelling Fivemiletown support after their historic win over Dundela in the fourth round of the Irish Cup on Saturday.



FIVEMILETOWN United are through to the fifth round of the Irish Cup for the first time in their history after a remarkable 4-3 win over Irish League side Dundela on Saturday.


Dundela ...3
Fivemiletown United ...4

In a match billed by the club in the run-up as the biggest in their history, it is just getting bigger and better for Fivemiletown as they now face the possibility of facing one of the biggest names in Irish League football.

The likes of Linfield, Glentoran, Crusaders, Cliftonville and Glenavon could await the men from the Valley Stadium when the draw is made today (Tuesday).

There is also the possibility of what would be a mouthwatering derby encounter with fellow Tyrone side Dungannon Swifts.

Fivemiletown's journey thus far has been goal-filled, with a total of 16 goals scored in their last two ties.

In the third round, Scott Robinson's men came back from 4-2 down with less than a quarter of an hour to play to roar through 5-4.

And on Saturday, they were on the receiving end of a comeback this time, but they showed the necessary resolve to see the game out.

Fivemiletown led 4-1 at half time and conceded twice in the opening minutes of the second half, but they resolutely withstood the pressure exerted on them by their more senior opponents to set up the possibility of a plum fifth round tie in January.

On Saturday, the Valley men travelled to east Belfast and brought 150 supporters with them on a day that will never be forgotten by those in attendance.

Out on the pitch 50 minutes before kick off, the buzz among the players was tangible.

A barnstorming team talk by Scott Robinson sent the players out for the game at 1.30pm.

There were four changes from the fourth round victory over Newington, with McDowell in for the injured Johnson, Clarke in for the unavailable Connor, Baron in for the injured Gillespie and Bell in for Davy Fulton.

Early exchanges saw Dundela try to build from the back with their 'keeper feeding full backs and centre backs at every opportunity.

Unfortunately for them, it played into 'Town's hands as the lads pressed high from the first minute.

The game's first goal was scored inside the first 10 minutes.

Possession was won high up the pitch, and the excellent Glen Clarke fired in a low effort which the keeper parred into the path of Ricki Carroll who rolled the ball home left footed.

Dundela however, responded within 60 seconds.

A left footed corner was met six yards out and a shot bounced into the floor and looped agonisingly over Matty Quinn and into the net.

Then came the goal of the game.

A good build up down the left resulted in Chrissy McDowell firing in a superb left footed cross which Matty Callaghan stormed in bravely at the back post to power home a header, having outjumped the goalkeeper.

Chances were coming thick and fast at this stage and Dundela simply couldn't get out of their own half for long periods.

Town won a free kick 35-yards out on 30 minutes, and as Nathan Sherry and Davy Little stood over it, there was only going to be one winner.

Former Lisbellaw man Little drove a ferocious effort over the wall and high into the net to make it 3-1.

Almost immediately 'Town won another free kick in a central area, this time 40-yards out. Little stepped up, and delivered a dipping free kick which skipped off the wet surface and into the corner and it was 4-1.

Dundela's only remaining chance of the half came when a free kick was headed wide on 43 minutes.

It was evident immediately that Dundela had changed their game plan, and they bombarded the Fivemiletown rearguard with long balls, and initially it worked.

Two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half saw Dundela right back in the game at 3-4. For the next 15 minutes the Valley men dug in. Dundela missed a couple of headers before a spectacular overhead kick flew wide on the hour.

As the last half hour kicked in, affairs got feisty. Carson came on for Clarke, and his ability to run with the ball took some pressure off the Valley back four, who were superbly marshalled by Barry Anderson.

Tackles were coming think and fast, bookings too. As a result, chances created were at a premium.

The 89th minute saw the save of the game.

A fantastic Little delivery was met at the back post with a powerful header by Baron, and everyone thought that was the clincher, but the home keeper made a fantastic reaction save.

The five minutes of stoppage time seemed an eternity to the Fivemiletown contingent, but the match official's whistle for full time produced scenes of celebration the likes of which this club have never seen before but hope to see again.

Scott Robinson paid tribute to his players after the game. "I'm extremely proud of everyone involved," he said.

"But it's been like this all season. I've to pay particular tribute to the support. They were unreal. It's as simple as this, Hard work pays off".

It's back to league action next week, when Fivemiletown host Windmill Stars in what will be a tough fixture. The sides drew 1-1 in Newry in the third game of the season and the men from the Valley know they will need the same support this weekend.


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