Not only did last night’s win over Linfield earn Cliftonville’s place in the Semi Finals of the County Antrim Shield, it also marked a milestone of sorts as the Reds overcame the Blues on penalties for the first time in history.
The Windsor Park clash was the fifth time that a Cup tie between the sides had gone to spot-kicks, with Linfield having emerged victorious on every previous occasion.
Budweiser Cup losses in both 1989 and 1991 started a sequence which continued when Cliftonville were eliminated from the League Cup in 1994 before suffering Shield heartbreak in the teams’ most recent shoot-out in December 1997.
That trend was, however, finally reversed less than 24 hours ago when Richard Brush saved Niall Quinn’s strike to earn the Reds a 4-3 victory following a 2-2 draw After Extra Time.
Ronan Doherty and Ryan Curran had fired the visitors into what looked like an unassailable advantage only for the Blues to level with two goals in the final 10 minutes.
Curran then successfully converted the first penalty of the night ahead of Brush repelling Dale Taylor’s effort.
Thomas Maguire blazed his effort over the top, allowing Linfield to level through Charlie Allen, before Chris Curran and Kirk Millar converted to make it 2-2 after three kicks each.
Aaron Donnelly put the Reds back in front and Daniel Reynolds found the net with his attempt ahead of Conor McMenamin making it 4-3, meaning Quinn had to score to keep the Blues in it – but Brush guessed the right way to book Cliftonville’s Semi Final spot and register a little piece of history.