Pitch conditions meant this highly anticipated City Cup tie between Limavady’s Drummond United and First Division leaders Draperstown Celtic at the Roe Mill Road on Saturday afternoon was always going to be close.
In the end the visitiors continued their recent good run and secured a narrow 3-2 extra-time win.
After taking time to adjust to conditions the home side Drummond looked the likelier.
Growing in confidence, United began committing bodies forward, marshalled well by player manager Ian Crockett.
However this afforded Draperstown a lot of space on the counter.
Indeed on 22 minutes, Celtic took full advantage of the space when a long ball pumped into the box by Eoighan McGuigan was poorly cleared and fell at the feet of midfielder Raymond Caulfield who coolly chipped the ball past a rooted Dave Millar.
It wasn’t long before Celtic capitalised again. A mistimed interception from Drummond centre back Chris Reid, left Dean Flanagahan one-on-one with the last defender and after a great piece of skill the number 10 made no mistake placing the ball into the bottom corner.
From that point on the away side sat back and almost invited pressure, although shell-shocked Drummond did very little to test the Draperstown backline for the remainder of the first half.
The second half started with Drummond comfortable in possession but were unable to create any clear cut chances.
It took until the 60th minute, and a spectacular save from Dave Millar, for United to switch on.
An in swinging ball by Celtic’s Odhrán McGuigan placed right on the head of Gary Mulholland six yards out from goal, was somehow tipped onto the crossbar by a sprawling Davey Millar. It was a huge chance for Celtic to put the game to bed and proved a turning point.
For the remainder of the 90 minutes, Limavady laid siege to the Draperstown goal.
They found their way back into the game on 65 minutes as after a succession of corners, a Blaine Morrison cross was finally met by Chris Reid who made up for his earlier slip in the day.
Three minutes later the game was level.
Great individual play by Corey Mullan on the right wing bought the United striker the space to lay the ball off to substitute Liam O’Kane who placed the ball out of the reach of the Celtic goalkeeper.
The momentum kept with United going into extra-time although Draperstown popped up time and again on the counter.
After some Celtic pressure, a corner kick and an unfortunate own goal settled the tie.
Centre back Andy Millar could do little to stop his defensive header from cannoning into the back of his own net.
With little time to respond Drummond desperately launched the ball forward. A chance in the dying seconds bobbled awkwardly in front of Eoighan Rodgers in front of goal but the right back was unable to wrap his foot around it.
The Draperstown men deservedly go through to the next round.
Drummond United: Dave Millar, Eoighan Rodgers, Paul McGonigle, Andy Millar, Chris Reid, Gerard Logue, Jamie McElwee, Jason Holmes, Corey McMullan, Ian Crockett, Blaine Morrison. Subs: Liam O’Kane (59), Luke McLaughlin (64), Barney Butcher (89).
Draperstown Celtic: Conor Gallagher, Chrissy Hegarty, Niall McGlade, Gary Mulholland, Johnny Irwin, Caol McIvor, Odhrán McGuigan, Raymond Caulfield, Eoighan McGuigan, Dean Flanaghan, Gavin Bradley Subs: Kevin Murray (72), Ciaran Scullion (96)