Coleraine 2 - 2 Motherwell: Trevor Carson is Motherwell penalty hero
Northern Irish keeper saves three spot-kicks in shootout after being beaten by two in normal time
Northern Ireland goalkeeper Trevor Carson was ten-man Motherwell’s penalty shoot-out hero as they survived a major scare in Coleraine to progress in the Europa League.
Carson saved three penalties out of three after being beaten by two spot-kicks in the 90 minutes of a 2-2 draw in the second qualifying round.First-half goals by strikers Callum Lang and Tony Watt had put Motherwell in command at The Showgrounds but Ben Doherty netted from the spot inside four minutes of the second half and he repeated the feat in the last minute after Bevis Mugabi had been sent off for a last-man foul.
However, Carson proved unbeatable in the shootout as Motherwell sealed a tie against Hapoel Beer-Sheva with the one-off game due to be held in Israel, which is currently under lockdown, next Thursday.
Stephen Robinson’s men had beaten Glentoran 5-1 in the previous round and they started strongly with Mark O’Hara and Lang having efforts blocked.
However, Coleraine missed a good chance just before the opener when James McLaughlin headed wide from a free-kick.
Motherwell then netted a 16th-minute opener. Watt beat his man and crossed and the ball was headed back by Stephen O’Donnell for Lang to net from close range at the second attempt.
Motherwell defender Declan Gallagher saw an effort cleared off the line before Watt doubled Motherwell’s lead in the 37th minute.
The former Celtic striker fired a first-time effort into the bottom corner from 16 yards after Liam Polworth touched back Lang’s cross.
Former St Mirren boss Oran Kearney’s side got a goal back four minutes after the restart when O’Hara was penalised while tracking Doherty at a set-piece. The Northern Ireland Under-21 international picked himself up and dispatched the penalty into the bottom corner.
Motherwell were suddenly under pressure and they had a let-off when Josh Carson was flagged offside after putting the ball across for Gareth McConaghie to net.
The equaliser did come when Eoin Bradley got away from Mugabi. The Coleraine substitute slowed down and drew contact with the defender before going down and Finnish referee Antti Munukka pointed to the spot and showed a red card.
Doherty sent his penalty into the other corner to take the game into extra-time.
Chris Long went close for Well and Carson touched a Bradley header on to the bar.
He then saved penalties by Ian Parkhill, Lyndon Kane and McConaghie as Well won the shootout 3-0.
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