Swifts survive tricky test to reach Irish Cup quarter-finals

�Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 22th November 2014. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com. Danske Bank Premiership - Dungannon Swifts v Portadown at Stangmore Park. Dungannon manager Darren Murphy
�Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland - 22th November 2014. Mandatory Credit - Photo by Andrew Paton/Presseye.com. Danske Bank Premiership - Dungannon Swifts v Portadown at Stangmore Park. Dungannon manager Darren Murphy

Dungannon Swifts survived a close call in the Irish Cup but eventually managed to squeeze past Ballyclare Comrades after a tense penalty shoot-out at Dixon Park.

Alvin Rouse was the hero in the spot-kicks decider, saving from Chris Trussell, to send Dungannon through after the game had finished goalless, even following extra time.

The home side could have gone ahead inside 90 seconds. A cross found Andrew Simpson but his strike crashed back off the post.

Dungannon threatened when a shot was saved and Jamie Glackin’s follow-up was cleared off the line.

But Ballyclare carried the greater threat. Gary Brown drew a decent save from the goalkeeper after collecting a ball and trying his luck from a tight angle.

Sam McIlveen also went close via two free-kicks. His first, a pile-driver from 40 yards, was well collected by Rouse while his second flashed just wide of the back post.

Gary Liggett had a great chance for the visitors towards the end of the half but his low effort came back off the inside of the far post.

Randal Reid also worked Rouse as a scrappy half finished scoreless.

It took some time for the second half to come to life. David Armstrong sent a header wide for Dungannon while captain Ryan Harpur also went close from a long-range free-kick.

The home side’s best chance fell to sub Darren Doherty but he shot wide from close range. Dungannon could have won it three minutes from the end when they were awarded a penalty, but Harpur’s kick came back off the crossbar.

It meant half an hour of overtime, in which neither side was able to make the breakthrough, leaving it to penalties to settle the tie, Rouse’s save setting the scene for young Conor Mullan to hit the killer strike to set up a quarter-final trip to Belfast to take on Glentoran.