Dromore Amateurs miss out in penalties to Craigavon City

Dromore Amateurs 2 Craigavon City 2 (Craigavon City won 4-2 on penalties)

The long wait for silverware continues for Dromore Amateurs firsts after an agonising defeat on penalty kicks to Craigavon City in the final of the Alan Wilson Cup.

At a packed Holm Park in Armagh on Friday night, both sides served up a dramatic encounter which had the noisy crowd gripped right up until the final kick.

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Dromore were chasing their first senior trophy in almost 50 years, and on the plastic 3G pitch in Armagh the players put in a valiant effort to try and bring the cup home.

Dromore Amateurs player Jonny Rodgers fires a shot at goal

Alas, in the end, fortune did not favour the boys in amber and black.

With the game tied 2-2 after 90 minutes, Dromore dominated extra time, and considering the number of good goal-scoring chances which they created, the locals will feel they really ought to have won the game outright.

But after 110 minutes of full-blooded cup final football, the two teams couldn’t be divided, and so the destination of the trophy would be decided via the lottery of penalty kicks.

Dromore had two efforts saved by the City goalkeeper, while Craigavon held their nerve to convert four from the spot, sparking jubilant scenes amongst their supporters.

The Dromore Amateurs team ahead of kick-off. Back row, Louis Simpson, Ricky Copeland, Matthew Reain, David Ringland, Christopher Burns, Kris Lindsay and Thomas Martin (captain). Front row, Andrew Henderson, Jonny Rodgers, Tom Stannage and Gavin McCaughan

The Amateurs got off to the perfect start on five minutes when a trademark long throw-in from Matthew Reain sparked confusion in the City box and the ball sailed into the net courtesy of an own-goal.

The lead didn’t last long, however, after Craigavon equalised on 10 minutes with a well-worked move and close-range finish.

In an incident-packed affair, both teams had a goal apiece ruled out for off-side, while Craigavon also missed a first-half penalty when their player rattled the crossbar.

Dromore had one hand on the cup on 75 minutes when Matthew Reain showed excellent composure to slot home a penalty kick after midfielder Louis Simpson had been upended in the box.

Dromore Amateurs children and parents were in full voice, getting behind their team

But once again, the Amateurs were pegged back just seven minutes later when Craigavon levelled the tie 2-2 with a superb curling shot from the edge of the box which left Dromore keeper David Ringland with no chance.

The Amateurs piled on the pressure in extra time in search of a winner, but try as they might, the ball would not go in the net.

Although defeat on penalties was a desperately difficult pill to swallow, the Dromore squad cannot be faulted for their efforts on the night and the experience will stand them in good stead for next season.

The club would like to thank all the Amateurs supporters who travelled in huge numbers by bus and car to cheer the team on. It was great to see so many people, from across the generations, with Amateurs scarves and flags - you really played your part in making it a colourful occasion. Manager Chris Tate, his assistant Alexander McCartan and all the players, really appreciated your support.

Amateurs players celebrate after going 1-0 ahead thanks to a Craigavon own goal