Crumlin United 2 Douglas Hall 4
DOUGLAS Hall overcame considerable adversity at Pearse Park on Sunday afternoon to book their place in the last four of the FAI Youth Challenge Cup.
After initially falling behind to their Metropolitan hosts - only to restore parity in a timely fashion - the Leesiders lost David Debuf to a suspected broken ankle just past the hour mark.
In his absence, Douglas displayed remarkable character.
With James Daly, Brian O’Neill and Agape Malanda all finding the net, the Moneygourney men stormed to a memorable victory over their much-vaunted south Dublin counterparts.
It had been a difficult opening to the proceedings for Michael Nason’s charges, who found themselves one goal adrift in the 15th-minute.
Left-back David Garvin was adjudged to have fouled Crumlin’s Joey Murray inside the area and Ryan Gannon made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Yet, Douglas eventually settled into the contest and were back on level terms when Roger Timon’s enticing set-piece was inadvertently headed home by Crumlin's Stephen Egan.
This added fresh impetus to the Douglas challenge and the further the action progressed, the more confident they became.
The sides ultimately remained inseparable at the break, however, and Douglas breathed a sigh of relief when Crumlin winger Murrey missed a gilt-edged opportunity on 58 minutes. Just moments after being switched into the right-back position, Debuf went down under a relatively innocuous tackle.
The play was delayed for all of 25 minutes until a medical team arrived on site to carefully remove the versatile Douglas footballer from the field. This could have had a demoralising effect on the visitors, but instead they re-emerged as a galvanised outfit.
When a corner from the left-wing broke into his path, Daly drilled an unstoppable right-footed drive beyond the reach of Crumlin netminder Dara Davey-Kelly. Having deputised for Debuf in another tactical re-shuffle, Brian O’Neill doubled the Douglas lead with a clinical finish at a left-hand angle.
Douglas were suddenly attacking in waves and with 10 minutes left to play, Malanda placed the outcome beyond doubt with a close-range finish. Crumlin substitute Stanley Raymond narrowed the gap at the opposite end, but it wasn’t enough to deny Douglas a semi-final spot.
Dara Davey-Kelly; Junior Ozhianvuna, Stephen Egan, Ian Kinsella, Ben Best; Ryan Gannon (Lee Longworth 110), Ephraim Lisimba (Tomas Kinnear 106); Joey Murrey (Stanley Raymond 95), Zahran Hajji (Darren McCormack 25), Dean Sutcliffe; Adam Bennett.
Antonio Ancheta; Ewan Kelly (Agape Malanda 59), Justin Equaibor, David O’Sullivan, David Garvin; Dean McCarthy, Eoin Healy; James Daly, Ewan Lee, David Debuf (Brian O’Neill 86 (Clinton Ogundero 108)); Roger Timon.