Willow Park avoid Paddy Cotter Cup shock with extra time win in TP Hickey Park


It took extra time to save Willow Park from being the victim of a giant killing act in the Paddy Cotter Cup on Sunday morning last

First Division leaders Temple Villa took an early lead at TP Hickey Park but Willow got back on level terms just before the hour mark. No further goals followed meaning extra time was needed to settle the tie, Colin Fortune’s charges going in front in the first period of extra time to advance.

Aaron O’Neill had an early chance for the hosts but Willow soon settled. A Conor Maher cross from the left was collected by Paul Bannon and was soon followed by the first corner kick of the contest. Daragh Concannon then drilled a free kick over the bar for the visitors as Villa replied with their first corner. James Fortune sent a first time strike wide but Willow were shocked when the hosts opened the scoring after 17 minutes when Jason Hyland sent in a cross from the left which was headed home at the near post by Darren Nugent.

Willow failed to respond to going behind and it could have been worse for Fortune’s men but they were rescued by the woodwork on 26 minutes, Hyland unlucky to be denied by the bar as Villa looked to double their lead.

The first action in the second half saw Neil Kenny deliver a good cross from the right as the visitors now looked livelier and soon Willow levelled matters on 56 minutes. A further Kenny right wing cross was palmed away by goalkeeper Bannon but substitute Raffa Shakhnazaryan came in to score from close range. Willow were inspired by the equaliser and had a number of opportunities thereafter to take the lead. Drew Hiag had a shot saved while sub Joe Awana was also denied by Bannon at the expense of a corner.

The visitors continued to press for the lead, Concannon firing over while Kevin Dunne then headed wide from Concannon’s free kick delivery. In spite of the away pressure, there was late drama as Villa came agonisingly close to creating a shock result. The game headed into the fifth additional minute when Willow conceded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area. Substitute Conor McCormack struck the ball well but Shane McEnery got down to his right in a crowded box to push the ball away. The danger still remained and the ball was played in to Nugent who thought he had won it for Villa when firing the loose ball to the net. The celebrations were soon halted as, much to Villas dismay, the goal was disallowed for handball. It left Willow with another chance as two 10 minute periods of extra time was now called upon to decide the tie.

The winner arrived as the first period was drawing to a close and came from an unlikely source as Villa failed to clear the danger from an away attack and were severely punished when defender Declan Fallon arrived to shoot to the net.


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