Derry City 3 Sligo Rovers 3 (Derry won 5-3 on pens aet)
Stephen McLaughlin was Derry City’s hero last night as he scored the crucial penalty in the shootout as ten-man Candystripes dumped holders Sligo Rovers out of the EA Sports Cup in a dramatic semi-final at the Brandywell.
Record nine-time winners Derry now meet Cork City in the final on September 24.
McLaughlin stepped up to rifle the final spot kick past Sligo keeper Brendan Clarke as Derry scored all five of their penalties after keeper Eugene Ferry had saved Sligo’s third kick from their skipper Richie Ryan.
In a thrilling game, the sides swapped goals within three minutes before the break.
Despite fielding a second-string 11, Derry stole the lead on 43 minutes.
Michael McCrudden flicked on a super free-kick from Ruairi Harkin and left-back Danny Lafferty arrived at the back post to head home.
But Sligo responded in the final minute of the half when Danny Ventre’s shot from 20 yards seemed to catch Ferry unawares to enter the net.
Ferry redeemed himself with terrific saves from Matthew Blinkhorn and John Russell as Sligo got on top.
Derry then regained the lead against the run of play on 75 minutes when Harkin crossed for McLaughlin to bounce a glancing header past Brendan Clarke.
Sligo hit back minutes later, though, with the goal of the game. Aaron Greene beat his man to cross for Eoin Doyle to rifle to the net in style for his 20th goal of the season.
Derry had Lafferty sent off in the first minute of stoppage time when he hauled down Ventre who was through in a goalscoring position.
But Derry were back in front through McLaughlin four minutes into extra-time before Doyle also got his second of the night on 108 minutes to force the shootout.