Sports

Steely Swifts take Windsor point

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Steely Swifts take Windsor point thumbnailSwifts Captain Ryan Harpur takes the ball under control.

DUNGANNON Swifts almost had the perfect preparation for the Irish League Cup final on Saturday, delivering everything boss Rodney McAree would have wanted to see, except for a goal.

Linfield...0
Dungannon Swifts...0

Ryan Harpur, David Armstrong and Paul McElroy were recalled to the starting lineup after missing the 3-0 defeat to Glenavon.

Windsor Park has proved something a bogey ground for the Swifts since their promotion in 2003 and they are still without a victory at the National Stadium.

Such was the impressive  defensive performance of Armstrong and Hegarty that it took 15 minutes before the home side had their first chance.

 The ball fell to Stafford who controlled it and got his head down and drove forward.

He looked up and the shot was on,  but his 30-yard attempt was pushed wide.

Instead the best chances of the opening 45 minutes fell to the visitors.

Kris Lowe almost opened the scoring after 25 minutes, but his header from a Jarlath O'Rourke cross was straight at 'keeper Gareth Deane.

O'Rourke also went close but his effort was touched onto the bar by Deane. Deane was back in action in the just before half time as Daniel Hughes ran clear on goal but his effort was denied by the Linfield shot stopper.

In the second half the hosts came to life and really put the Swifts under pressure.

A ball from Kirk Millar fell kindly for Kurtis Byrne and his thunderous effort was well saved by Stuart Addis.

Addis was in impressive form also denying Campion, who had drifted past the Swifts backline with his save allowing Armstrong the chance to clear.

Both sides had chances near the death with Stafford heading just wide for the hosts and Daniel Hughes just denied by some last ditch tackling by Joe Crowe.

This is the 20th time Dungannon have met Linfield at Windsor Park and only the fourth time they have taken anything from the game.

It was a dissapointing result for Linfield also as they now sit 21 points behind league leaders Crusaders.

Speaking after the game, Swifts boss Rodney McAree claimed he was happy with his sides performance.

"It is very satisfying to come to the national stadium and leave with a clean sheet," he said.

"We always give ourselves a chance of sneaking a win, which I felt in the second half we were capable of doing if we had shown a little bit more belief.

"But to come to the national stadium and get the clean sheet is fantastic and e are delighted."

With the League Cup Final against Ballymena United next for the Swifts, Rodney admits cup fever is starting to set in.

"It is very exciting, everyone is looking forward to it," he said.

"I'd encourage everybody to come out and give us support as they will be very welcome.

"It is an exciting time for us. We work tirelessly around the club, everybody puts a shift in and I know everybody will enjoy the occasion.

"But we have to remember we have won nothing yet, we want to bring silverware back to Stangmore and that is what it is all about."

Dungannon Swifts: Stuart Addis, Kris Lowe, Chris Hegarty, Davy Armstrong, Jarlath O'Rourke, Dougie Wilson, Seanan Clucas (Terry Fitzpatrick, 85), Ryan Harpur, Ryan Mayse (Ally Teggart, 76), Paul McElroy (Cormac Burke, 72),Daniel Hughes.

Subs not used: Andy Coleman, Shea Campbell

 

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