CRUES THROUGH TO LAST FOUR AFTER LAST GASP O'ROURKE WINNER
Jarlath O'Rourke struck right at the end of extra-time as Crusaders defeated Ballymena United in the BetMcLean League Cup quarter-finals at the Showgrounds.
The game got off to a relatively bright start with both sides having opportunities in front of goal.
For Ballymena Jonny Addis had a go from distance but the ball fell of the upright before play switched to the other end when Declan Caddell found himself through only to fire straight at Jordan Williamson.
Adam Lecky then threatened with a turn and shot which Sean O'Neill parried away, Leroy Millar then saw a right-foot effort saved followed by another Lecky attempt which sailed just over.
A bit of a dip followed before, six minutes from the break, Jamie McGonigle opened the scoring for the Crues with a strong 20-yard drive which sailed by Williamson into the top corner.
Crusaders were dealt a double blow early in the second half.
Rory Hale was shown a straight red card for handling Addis' header on the goalline and, from the penalty that followed, Andrew McGrory confidently fired past O'Neill.
Both sides chased the win with Lecky having a goalbound header well saved by O'Neill just after the hour while McGonigle had a shot stopped at the end of a long run although he might have laid the ball off for Philip Lowry who was better placed to shoot.
Ballymena were reduced to ten men themselves on 83 minutes when Lecky was dismissed for an off the ball incident with Lowry.
Paul Heatley had the ball in the net for the Crues early in the second period of extra-time only to be ruled out offside.
However, there was no doubting O'Rourke's 119th minute finish after he popped up on the edge of the six yard box to slide home Ross Clarke's ball from the right side of the area.
Ballymena United: Williamson, Addis, Harpur, McCullough, K. Kane, McGrory, Balmer, Ervin, Lecky, Millar, Kelly subs Glendinning (not used), Mayse (replaced K. Kane 93), McGinty (not used), Carville (replaced Harpur 19), Winchester (not used), Aaron Burns (replaced Millar 69), Lavery (not used)
Crusaders: O'Neill, Burns, Coates, Lowry, McGonigle, Hale, Caddell, O'Rourke, K. Owens, Heatley, McElroy subs Doherty (not used), Beverland (not used), Cushley (replaced McGonigle 95), Ruddy (not used), J. Owens (not used), Thompson (replaced McElroy 63), Clarke (replaced Caddell 89)