Down hit the spot to reach Plate final

COUNTY Down beat CSKA 4-2 on penalties in the NIMC Plate semi-final at Broughshane on Wednesday afternoon.

Chances were at a premium in the opening stages. Derek Austin- Cornelius steered a 10th minute effort wide as CSKA began to exert some control.

CSKA Moscow went ahead two minutes later. Austin-Cornelius picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and smashed a sweet shot into the roof of the County Down goal past Hazard.

Midway through the opening half, Matthew Dempster cut inside from the right but his left foot shot was straight at Georgy Alberov.

County Down were fortunate not to concede a second goal with five minutes of the first half remaining. Andrey Zorin let fly from 30 yards and his effort hit the top of Hazard’s bar.

Michael Johnston, Charlie Martyn and Jody McGovern were introduced at the break by County Down, who equalised after 32 minutes. Nicholas Turkington bent an exquisite free kick from all of 30 yards into the top corner of the CSKA net.

Turkington almost gave county Down a 39th minute lead. Johnston’s shot was blocked by Roman Farafonov. The ball ran to Turkington who sidefooted wide from inside the area with the goal at his mercy.

Jody McGovern went close to winning it for County Down, sending a right foot half-volley narrowly past the far post with seven minutes to play.

Johnston, Turkington and Salley scored for County Down in the penalty shootout. Conor Hazard made two excellent saves from Zorin and Artem Yuran. Dalton Tate sent the CSKA keeper the wrong way to seal County Down’s place in the Plate final.

Team: Hazard, McAnespie, Walker, Byers, Gray, Tate, Drylie, Dempster, Turkington, Ward, Salley. Subs: Martyn, Noble-Walker, Power, Johnston, McGovern.