Football

Shootout success: Irish Defence Forces beat UKAF after late equaliser in dramatic derby

UKAF thought they had the game won but a 95th minute equaliser led to an Irish penalty shootout victory.

 

The UK Armed Forces men's football team were dealt late disappointment as they fell to a penalty shootout loss against the Irish Defence Forces.

The IDF scored in the first minute thanks to Ronan Kerin but a Jack Debnam double had UKAF on the verge of victory.

However, Ryan Gaffney scored a dramatic leveller in the fifth minute of added time and the Irish held their nerve to win on penalties.

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The match was being played for the Annual Perpetual Friendship Trophy at the home of Havant & Waterlooville FC which is also the host stadium of the 2021 Kentish Cup next month.

UKAF were looking for valuable momentum heading into that tournament but made a nightmare start.

A mistake at the back from the experienced Keith Emmerson led to Kerin firing home the opener after just 45 seconds.

The Irish dominated the first 15 minutes with Kerin going close twice more.

However, he wasted one opportunity before a superb goal-saving tackle from Alex Woodhouse denied him. 

WATCH: Highlights of UKAF's dominant win over Loughborough University.

Despite a slow start, the home side came back into the game thanks to another defensive mistake.

IDF goalkeeper Gavin Mulreany's poor pass fell right to RAF star Debnam who finished in cool fashion.

They were chances at both ends in a lively first half, but both goalkeepers kept it at 1-1 at half-time albeit with a bit of luck as IDF striker Adrian Rafferty hit the post.

After the break, chances continue to come but it was a smart strike from Debnam that put UKAF in front,

Emmerson made up for his earlier error with a good lay-off and Debnam did the rest to make it 2-1.

From there, UKAF looked in full control.

Jake Gosling hit the bar and impressive substitute Matty Glass lobbed wide from a good position.

With time ticking away, it looked like all Irish hope was lost until Gaffney's late header sparked wild scenes of celebration from the men in green.

After a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes, a penalty shootout would decide a winner.

UKAF had the opportunity to seal the win but a superb save from Mulreany kept the game alive.

From there, IDF held their nerve and grabbed a 3-2 win on spotkicks to win back the Annual Perpetual Friendship Trophy.