Ballymena need extra-time to see off Donegal Celtic

David Cushley scored a hat-trick for Ballymena against Donegal Celtic
David Cushley scored a hat-trick for Ballymena against Donegal Celtic

DONEGAL CELTIC 1 BALLYMENA UTD 3

(AET: 90 mins 1-1)

A clinical hat-trick from David Cushley saw Ballymena United come from behind to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Toals County Antrim Shield.

Trailing 1-0 to Ryan Dunlop’s 72nd-minute opener, Cushley scored a superb equaliser in the 88th minute before adding two more in extra time - including a late penalty.

On an eventful night on the Suffolk Road, Ballymena were also reduced to 10 men five minutes before Celtic’s opener, with Mark Surgenor shown a straight red card by referee Evan Boyce for a challenge on Emmett Templeton.

Following a tepid opening half it was Celtic who broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute with substitute Dunlop on target with his first touch of the game.

It came from Taggart’s cross, and when Ciaran Carson headed the ball back across goal there was Dunlop to nod home from close range.

The opener arrived five minutes after Ballymena had been reduced to 10 men when Surgenor was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Templeton.

The visitors tried to respond, with Malachy Thompson taking two attempts to save Darren Boyce’s drilled shot.

Patrick Mallen should have wrapped up the win for DC in the 84th minute, but the defender’s shot just scaled the crossbar.

Ballymena claimed their equaliser in the 88th minute with Cushley on target with a fine goal.

Kane’s deep free-kick wasn’t cleared by the DC defence, and the ball dropped to Cushley who drilled home a superb volley through a crowded box and into the far corner.

Cushley was on target again in the fourth minute of extra time, rushing onto Boyce’s through ball before drilling his shot past Thompson.

And Cushley completed his hat-trick in the 106th minute when he converted from the spot after being brought down just inside the box.

DONEGAL CELTIC: Thompson, Mallen, Wallace, McLaughlin, Bradley, Carson, Taggart (McClenaghan 87), Templeton, Todd (Dunlop 70), Stuart, Shannon.

Subs not used: Devine, Kelly, Hawkins.

BALLYMENA UTD: Nelson, Kane, McVey, Davidson, Ruddy, Stewart, Surgenor, Gawley (Thompson 74), Boyce, Teggart (Tipton 55), Cushley (Harris 109).

Subs not used: McCullagh, McBride.

Referee: Evan Boyce