Plucky Windmill bow out of Junior Cup
Windmill Star’s Junior cup run is over for another season after their opponents Strathroy Harps grabbed their second successive Carnbane scalp in the competition at Loughall on Wednesday evening.
Windmill were left pondering what might have been as they will feel they did enough over the course of the 90 minutes to warrant them a second Junior cup final appearance. The Stars were undone by a late equaliser which took the tie into extra time. It was here that Strathroy broke Windmill hearts with the winner in the second period of extra time to book their place in their first ever Junior cup final.
Speaking to Newry Times, Niall Devlin, one of Windmill’s key players in getting them to the semi final summed the game up. “We had chances to close the game out but it was one of those games where a small mistake could have changed everything. We should have won but they got a corner late on and we couldn’t clear it. We had plenty of chances to see the game off but it just wasn’t to be.”
It was Strathroy Harps who had the better of the opening exchanges. Teague and Colton had early efforts on goal, while Quinn volleyed over. Harp’s early dominance was rewarded though and they took the lead on 11 minutes. Their midfielder raced down the wing and crossed for Teague, who made no mistake in slotting home from close range.
They almost doubled their advantage in the 25th minute when their striker broke through on goal and was one on one with the Windmill goalkeeper who did well to parry the ball to safety.
Windmill weathered the early Harp’s pressure and began to give as good as they got, but a stroke of luck got them back on level terms in the 35th minute. Niall Devlin powered a low ball into the six yard box which hit off the unfortunate Seamus Fanthorpe and past the helpless goalkeeper.
The Stars were showing great determination and began to take control of the game. They put one foot in the final in the 57th minute when the ball fell to Joe Fegan and from 25 yards out, he drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net to give the Stars the lead for the first time in the game.
Niall Devlin was giving the Strathroy defence all sorts of problems, running riot down the left wing and playing in a series of delightful balls to the Windmill forward line. Unfortunately, they were unable to get on the end of any of these chances which was to prove costly.
Despite their second half domination, Windmill couldn’t grab that elusive third goal and were dealt a sucker punch when Strathroy were presented with a rare opportunity in the 83rd minute. Windmill failed to deal with a goalmouth scramble from a corner and Quinn bundled the ball into the back of the net to level and send the tie into extra time.
Neither side managed to create any clear cut chances in the first period of extra time but two minutes into the second period Strathroy took the lead. A clearance from Gavin Quinn only went as far as Patrick Nugent, who controlled the ball before blasting his shot into the bottom right hand corner, which gave the Star’s goalkeeper no chance.
Strathroy held the ball up well after the goal and locked up their defence for the remainder of the game. Windmill’s frustration was summed up when Christopher Havern was sent off in the last minute for a two footed lunge.
Kieran McParland’s men will be bitterly disappointed, as it seemed victory was within their grasp but but they can now focus all of their efforts on the league as they look set to battle it out with Bessbrook and Newry Celtic for top spot.
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