Sports

Last gasp winner earns derby bragging rights for the Swifts.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Last gasp winner earns derby bragging rights for the Swifts. thumbnail Daniel Hughes keeps his eye on the ball under pressure from James Singleton and Andy McGrory.

DUNGANNON Swifts struck a last gasp winner to claim all three points in a thrilling 3-2 Mid-Ulster derby on Friday evening.

It looked like the Swifts had blown it after Glenavon came from 2-0 down to level proceedings heading into injury time.

Goals from substitutes Robbie Norton and Sammy Clingan had looked set to cancel out Daniel Hughes's earlier brace.

But it was the hosts who nicked all three points at the death when Seanan Clucas headed in former Glenavon winger Mark Patton's cross to send the fans in Stangmore Park into a state of euphoria.

Dungannon created the first chance inside a minute when Cormac Burke controlled a cross but shot narrowly wide.

At the other end Stephen Murray headed off target from six yards - but luckily for the Glenavon forward an offside flag spared his blushes.

Hughes went close for the home side with a shot across goalmouth that the goalkeeper pushed away from danger.

The deadlock was finally broken when the Swifts took the lead in the 25th minute after Hughes, who broke his duck in the last home game against Ballymena, was on the mark again, running on to a ball from midfield before slotting through the goalkee per's legs.

Douglas Wilson went close to a doubling Dungannon's advantage in the 35th minute. Alan Teggart sent a cross in from the right which Wilson caught on his left foot, but his low shot was blocked by a defender.

In the closing minutes of the first half, a corner picked out Clucas in the six yard box. He looked all set to make it 2-0, but headed over the bar.

Whatever Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton said at the break must have worked, as the Lurgan blues upped their game in the early minutes of the second half and Marc Griffin was inches from connecting with Joel Cooper's cross.

Cooper then went close in the 58th minute, hitting a powerful shot at the target which drew a stunning save from home goalkeeper Andrew Coleman.

Dungannon had another great opportunity to open up a two goal lead on the hour mark, but Wilson's header from a pinpoint Burke corner was heroically cleared off the line by the Glenavon defender.

Dungannon finally added goal number two in the 73rd minute from the spot after Kris Lowe was adjudged to have fouled Cooper.

Hughes' penalty was well placed, giving the goalkeeper no chance and seemed to have sealed the three points for the league cup winners.

But from the brink of defeat Glenavon turned it around. They pulled one back two minutes after Hughes' penalty through Norton's 20 yards pile driver.

The Mourneview men began to smell blood and they struck for the second time in five minutes to haul themselves level.

After more pressure, the visitors were awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal. Former Northern Ireland International Sammy Clingan took it, and he struck a beautiful shot which went over the wall, then dipped, struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced up and over the line to level the score.

The momentum was with Glenavon, and they went in search of a third. Norton took a quick throw-in which got Murray in behind the Swifts backline. He attempted to pull the ball back for substitute Steven McCavitt, but he could only play it behind his despairing strike partner.

Norton and Murray were involved again in the final minute of normal time. Murray was almost in, only for Coleman to race out of his goal and make a smart save at the striker's feet.

The ball fell to Norton, but his shot on the half-volley went over the bar.

As it turned out, it was Dungannon who secured all three points in the second minute of injury time. Former Lurgan blue Patton played an excellent cross in from the right flank with his left foot to pick out Clucas.

The defender's header was an outstanding one, a looping effort which dropped just below the crossbar and gave Jonny Tuffey no chance in the Glenavon goal.

The result leaves the Swifts in eighth place with their final league game before the league split coming away at Warrenpoint Town on Saturday, 31 March at Milltown stadium.

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