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Monday 13 Jan 2020
Reds through to Harry Cavan Youth Cup semi-finals after stoppage time winner

Calvin McCurry scored a stoppage time winner as Cliftonville Strollers squeezed past Dungannon Swifts U18 with a 3-2 victory to book a place in the last four of the prestigious Harry Cavan Youth Cup.

This quarter-final 'tie of the round' at Solitude began with both sides probing for openings but after the initial skirmishes it fell to the visitors to break the deadlock when on 20 minutes Adam Wright sent a close range finish past Reds 'keeper Declan Breen.

Cliftonville almost struck back immediately when a vicious McCurry drive from eight yards out forced a spectacular save from Dungannon keeper Olaf Wisniewski. 

Indeed, Cliftonville seemed to be trying everything to get the equaliser before the break and were committing players to the attack.

They were eventually rewarded on 44 minutes after Conor Scannell went on a solo run and hit a shot that was deflected for a corner, which was headed home by Calvin McCurry.

Boosted by this, the rejuvenated Strollers edged into the lead four minutes into the second half through Peter McKiernan who latched onto a wayward ball and placed a glancing six-yard effort past Wisniewski.

Dungannon became the hunters and became more dominant in possession but the final touch was lacking.

As the game wore on Cliftonville were holding onto their lead and as the final whistle became imminent they were caught on the hop when Wright sent in a free-kick from around 25-yards with Ethan McGee eventually turning the ball home from the edge of the box.

But, just as the game seemed to be heading for extra-time, Cliftonville had the final say with almost the last kick of the game when man of the match McCurry found a bit of space to go one-on-one with Wisniewski in the Dungannon goal and slot home the winner.

Cliftonville Strollers: Breen, Mervyn, McGuinness, Anderson, Snodden, Donnelly, McKernan, Casey, McCurry, O'Brien, Scannell subs Spencer (replaced O'Brien 63), Hyland (not used), Dixon (not used), Karrabecaj (not used), Brown (not used).

Dungannon Swifts U18: Wisniewski, McGee, Glenny, O'Kane, Conway, MacGregor, Evans, Smyth, Wright, Convie, Farrelly subs Marcal (replaced Convie 68), Saldanha (not used), McDaid (replaced Evans 54)


Image: Calvin McCurry receives his man of the match award from Jim Jess, chairman of the Irish FA Youth Cup committee. Photo: Gary Hancock