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Ards and Crusaders reach Shield semi-finals

Ards won out over holders Linfield at Windsor Park to book their Co Antrim Shield semi-final place. Credit: Pacemaker

Ards stunned Linfield and Crusaders staged a comeback against Cliftonville on Monday night, to each seal their place in the Co Antrim Shield semi-finals.

The 1-0 victory by Ards was swift revenge after they lost their league clash with the Blues 2-0 on Saturday.

Chances were few in the first half with Stephen Lowry and Aaron Burns going close for the Blues, while Ards striker Jonny Frazer miscued when well-placed.

The visitors made the breakthrough three minutes into the second half, with David McAllister finishing off a neat move.

Josh Robinson had a great chance to level matters, but failed to connect properly.

And, as David Healy’s side mounted the pressure, Ards keeper Sam Johnston was at his best to deny Jordan Stewart and Steven Fallon.

When an Aaron Burns shot was cleared off the Ards line, Linfield knew it was not going to be their night and the visitors held out for the win.

Paul Heatley's double for the Crues turned the tables on Cliftonville. Credit: Presseye

Meanwhile, over at Solitude, Cliftonville were leading 2-1 going into the latter stages - but two goals from Paul Heatley turned the tables and Stephen Baxter’s side march on into the semis.

David Cushley had given Crusaders the lead from the penalty spot after 14 minutes, but Cliftonville were level on 28 minutes thanks to a close range header by Joe Gormley.

Gormley then grabbed his second to put the Reds 2-1 up after 68 minutes and it seemed that would be the end of the scoring going into the last five minutes.

However, Heatley took centre stage, nipping in to make it 2-2 on 85 minutes.

And before the home side could recover, Heatley smashed home a dramatic winner on 88 minutes to complete the comeback.