Bangor 0-0 Cliftonville [4-5 on penalties]
Fynn Talley was the hero as Cliftonville came through a nervy penalty shootout in tonight’s County Antrim Shield first round tie with Bangor.
The Reds goalkeeper saved the Seasiders’ sixth kick to book a quarter-final slot just minutes after the visitors had been on the cusp of exiting the competition.
Talley was one of 10 changes Paddy McLaughlin made to the side that started the weekend’s victory over Portadown and, among a line-up that boasted five Academy graduates, debuts were handed to Shea Kearney, Gerard Storey and Aaron Traynor.
After arguably the most uneventful 45 minutes of football in the Club’s history, Cliftonville began the second-half with more purpose and came close to claiming the breakthrough goal through Joe Gormley and Sean Moore.
Ronan Hale drew a save from Marc Orbinson, Moore sent a header just wide of the mark and Colin Coates nodded over the top before seeing a powerful effort repelled by the keeper.
The tie subsequently progressed straight to penalties and Hale sent the Reds on their way before Ben Arthurs drew Bangor level.
Ryan Curran and Ally Ferguson exchanged strikes, with Gormley and Reece Neale converting to leave it at 3-3 after three efforts each.
Coates put Cliftonville 4-3 up and, after Dylan O’Kane had levelled for the Seasiders, Orbinson’s save from Chris Curran put Bangor one kick away from progressing – only for Jordan Hughes to lift his attempt over the bar.
Luke Turner stepped up to restore the Reds’ advantage and Talley’s save from Conor Sullivan settled matters to put the Reds through.
Cliftonville: Talley, McDonagh (Ronan Hale), Robinson (Turner), Traynor (C Curran), Gormley, Storey (Doherty), Casey, Coates, McGuinness, Kearney (R Curran), Moore. Unused subs: Gartside, Gallagher.