IAN Gregg is hoping that his Wakehurst side can shake off their indifferent form in knockout competitions by having a good run in this season’s Coca-Cola IFA Intermediate Cup.
The Ballymena men moved into a fourth round meeting with Dromara Village after beating Dunmurry YM 5-3 in a delayed third round tie at Mill Meadow on Saturday.
“Our record hasn’t been great in cup competitions in recent years so it would be nice to go some distance in this competition,” Gregg told Times Sport.
“While the Steel & Sons Cup always seems to attract a lot of attention, it’s still only a divisional competition whereas the Intermediate Cup has all the top teams from across the Province in it so it’s always a competition that clubs want to do well in.”
Wakehurst will stay in Intermediate Cup mode this Saturday for the Dromara Village clash when Gregg hopes to welcome back his top goalscorer Conor Gregg - provided the striker hasn’t completed a move before the end of the trasnfer window.
“There is an offer on the table for Conor from a Premiership club and he has a bit of thinking to do this week,” added Gregg.
Wakehurst went in front on Saturday after 8 minutes, central defender Roy Colville flashing a powerful header past Dean Smyth from Lee McCaughern‘s pin-point free-kick.
The visitors were by no means out of the match and after 26 minutes they snatched an equaliser. Colville was adjudged to have fouled Colin Magill just outside the box and when the free-kick was delivered, Marc Maybin mishandled the cross and in the goalmouth scramble, Jemison poked the loose ball into the net.
Dunmurry were now showing little respect for their higher league opponents and 3 minutes from the interval the Wakehurst defence failed to clear and Dee Elliott capitalised to send his team into the break with a 2-1 lead.
The Wakehurst management team didn’t mince their words during the interval and it was a more determined eleven that started the second period.
On 47 minutes, Lemon was brought down by Jemison just outside the box and McCaughern’s free-kick was again perfectly flighted for Lemon to head past Smyth for the equaliser.
Four minutes later the home team went 3-2 up as Andy Laughlin hit a screamer from 25 yards that flew into the roof of the net. Wakehurst were now turning the screw and a fourth home goal arrived on 68 minutes and again McCaughern made the visitors pay for their ‘too close’ attention to Paul with another perfect free-kick that David Gage dispatched with an accurate header.
That should have settled the game but to their credit, Dunmurry YM never gave up and pulled a goal back. Keeper Maybin came for a cross and claimed he was impeded, but play continued and the keeper was still complaining to the referee when Darren Magill tapped the ball in off a post to make it 4-3
Dunmurry were reduced to 10 men, Jemison making his exit after a second bookable offence, pulling down Paul as he raced in on goal.
Darren Parker replaced Lemon with 4 minutes left and with his first touch, he laid the ball off to McCaughren who picked out Paul and the striker buried it for a goal he richly deserved after a non-stop display.
Wakehurst: M Maybin, P Alexander, D Stevenson, R Colville, D Gage, L McCaughern, A Laughlin, M Crawford, R Gregg, A Lemon, J Paul. Subs: J Lemon, S McIlroy, R Culbertson, R Young, D Parker.