Union Mills held their nerve to defeat in-form DHSOB in a penalty shoot-out to book their place in the final of the BCS Hospital Cup.
‘Tell me ma, me ma, we’re gonna be late for tea, we’re going to the NSC, tell me ma, me ma!’ was the song the Union Mills players and faithful sang after they defeated DHSOB in the semi-finals of the BCS Hospital Cup in a penalty shoot-out to reach the final of the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
It’s another exciting chapter that has been written for this young and vibrant side. Clearly bruised by their two league defeats at the hands of DHSOB this season, Union Mills had a point to prove and this was evident within the first minute.
Matty Cain’s free-kick was played to the feet of Stephen Halsall who drove the ball into the back of the net to give the visitors the ideal start.
Clearly fired up, Mills pressed and closed down DHSOB, hardly giving them space to manoeuvre.
However, the hosts’ only shot on target on 42 minute resulted in the equalising goal when David Quirk cut in from the right flank and drove a low shot that beat Danny Christian’s outstretched arm and flew into the net.
DHSOB manager Brian Gartland gave his players the hair-dryer treatment at the interval and it seemed to spark his side into life.
Hemming their opponents into their own half, Craig Stewart, Quirk and Tommy Miller all forced Christian into making saves while for Mills Ronan McDonnell had a diagonal shot repelled by Halliday.
With the match entering extra-time, it wasn’t until the second quarter-hour that the real drama unfolded.
Stewart hit the crossbar while at the other side of the park Joe Morling broke free and was homing in on goal when Iain Ramsay lunged and brought the player down. A professional foul - Ramsay had to walk. From the resulting free-kick, Richard Cannell drove it hard and low and into the back of the net to recapture the lead for the Millers.
DHSOB had one last throw of the dice and, on 118 minutes, a ball over the claret defence found the feet of Darren Hudgeon who guided his shot into the visiting net for the leveller, sending the hosts into delirium.
This extraordinary cup tie had to be settled via a penalty shoot-out. Craig Stewart was successful, as was Matty Cain. Hudgeon took his, his effort spun off Christian and against the post before bouncing out.
Richard Cannell, Craig Stewart, Ronan McDonnell, Dave Quirk, Kyle Uren, Robbie Ward were all successful converting their spot-kicks.
It was left to Halsall who slotted in the decisive penalty before racing towards the travelling faithful, before disappearing under a human pyramid.
Final stop - St George’s at the Bowl.
DHSOB: Sam Halliday, John Quirk (Sean Gavin 90m), Martin King, Tommy Miller, Iain Ramsay, David Quirk, Craig Stewart, Michael Hooper (Robbie Ward 79m), Phil Knox (Darren Hudgeon 64m), Lee Gartland, Callum Stewart
Union Mills: Danny Christian, James Cannell, Willie Miller, Chris Kelly (Ronan McDonnell 59m), Stephen Halsall, Karl Dobbin, Michael Nash (Richard Cannell 105m), Gareth Logan, Joe Morling, Steven Quine (Kyle Uren 88m), Matty Cain
Booked: Logan (Mills) Sent off: Ramsey (DHSOB)
Referee: Ian Fisher
Assistants: Willie Blair, Colin Coole
Man of the Match: Halsall (Mills)
Match rating: HHHHI
l St George’s avenged their FA Cup final defeat at the hands of St Mary’s by beating the same opponents 3-1 in the other semi-final.
Chris Bass Jr, Ciaran McNulty and Frank Jones were on target for the treble-chasers. Liam Doyle replied for Sam Kenny’s Bowl outfit.