Harrison’s Penalty Heroics Send TNS Into Irn-Bru Cup Semi-Final

A clutch penalty-shootout performance from The New Saints goalkeeper Paul Harrison saw the Welsh side advance past Queen of the South in the Irn-Bru Cup on Sunday.

The Saints advance to the last four of the competition where they will face Inverness, Dumbarton or Northern Irish side Crusaders.

Harrison scored from the spot and then saved the deciding penalty after the two sides were unable to be separated over 120-minutes in a closely fought contest at Park Hall.

Jamie Mullan had struck the bar in the third minute as The New Saints settled well against their Scottish Championship counterparts, who named former Everton and Scotland winger James McFadden in their line-up as well as former Swansea City striker Stephen Dobbie.

The visitors also struck the frame of the goal when McFadden clipped the crossbar with an attempted lob but with neither team were able to convert as chances went begging for both sides.

Queen of the South improved in the second-half but Greg Draper should’ve put Saints ahead when he struck the ball wide, unmarked, from 12-yards.

The New Saints were let off the hook in extra-time when Dobbie was played through by Kyle Jacobs but failed to hit the target.

The lack of goals even continued into the preceding penalty shootout with both teams missing their first two spot-kicks.

With the two sides finally finding their shooting boots, the shootout went into sudden death with Saints’ Paul Harrison thumping his effort into the of the net with aplomb before then producing a fine diving save, to his left, to deny Andy Stirling and send his team through.

“It was a great game and it could’ve gone either way,” admitted a relieved Harrison after the game.

“Both teams had chances and I don’t think either team could complain if the other walked away with victory as it was that close.

“I felt I should’ve saved the one before so there was a bit of anger in my penalty. I think if it had hit the keeper it would’ve put him in the back of the net with it!

“Sometimes you win, sometimes it’s just relief, but everyone’s just happy to get over the line and through to the semi-final.”

The draw for the Irn-Bru Cup semi-final will be made on Tuesday, 1pm.

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