NEFL | Bay bow out in extra-time
O’Neill Shield semi-final | Bay FC 0–1 Virginia Celtic | AET
Bay FC’s hopes of finishing the NEFL season with a piece of silverware were dashed as they were beaten in the O’Neill Shield semi-final by Virginia Celtic after extra time.
Damien Bellew’s side went into the game on the back of four straight wins and they started with intent, Damien Bailey turning his marker inside out only to smash a shot straight at the Virginia goalkeeper.
Both defences gave very little away with Bay’s Mario Kolak and his centre back partner, Ciaran Boland, marshalling the home side’s back four brilliantly.
At the other end, Anton Webb went so close to breaking the deadlock. After going on a mazy run that took him past three players, he cut back inside and unleashed a ferocious shot that forced a fingertip save from the Virginia goalkeeper and the sides went in all square at the break.
Virginia enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball in the second half and created a few chances that Bay goalkeeper Kevin Mullen did very well to deal with.
Their best chance of the game came fell on the hour mark when Mullen parried an effort into the path of an incoming Virginia player who saw his effort crash off the underside of the crossbar.
Bay regained a foothold in the game with 20 minutes to go and Bailey went close again a well struck volley that deflected just inches past the post and the game finished scoreless after 90 minutes.
The only goal of the game arrived five minutes into the first period of extra time when a soft handball call gave Virginia a free on the edge of the box and the subsequent delivery was met by an unstoppable header that left Mullen with no chance.
Bay piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser and Kolak had a penalty appeal waved away by the referee despite being pushed to the ground by a Celtic defender.
And the home side’s frustration grew even more when Anton Webb collected a Neven Novosel ball to run clear at the Virginia goal. He was was taken out by a combination of the Virginia goalkeeper and defender but the referee, much to the disbelief of everybody in attendance, waved away Bay’s appeals.
Goalkeeper Mullen joined the attack in the dying minutes but Virginia held on to book their place in the final.
The result leaves Bay with just one game to play this season, their final league match against BJD Celtic. The Dundalk side need to win that fixture and hope that Albion Rovers don’t collect more than one point from their last two games to have any hope of promotion to Division Two.
BAY FC: Kevin Mullen, Robbie Rafferty, Stephen McGuinness, Ciaran Boland (Paddy McShane 112), Mario Kolak, Aaron Kelly (Danny Berry 72), Alfonso Crespo (Dillon Curran 90), Peter Sweeney, Neven Novosel, Anton Webb, Damien Bailey (Angelo Stanley 92).