Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan blew his cheeks in relief after his team secured a second round berth in the EA Sports League Cup.
Horgan was speaking following their 3-2 win over Cockhill Celtic on Monday night at Finn Park.
Horgan, who managed Fanad United for the best part of a decade and participated in frequent battles with Donal O’Brien and Cockhill Celtic when they entered the Ulster Senior League, cut a relieved figure.
His team had began well and raced into a 2-0 lead on 14 minutes when Sean McCarron was joined on the scoreboard by an unfortunate Liam O’Donnell own goal.
Malachy McDermott pulled one back for the Buncrana side, who then lost James Bradley to a straight red card.
Ruairí Keating made it 3-1 to the hosts before Aidan O’Donnell’s goal on 85 minutes made for a nervy conclusion.
“We just scraped through,” Horgan admitted. “We were hanging on there, albeit against 10 men, which obviously is something for us to work on. Everyone knew it wouldn’t be easy against Cockhill.
“It could have gone the other way, had they equalised in the last couple of minutes, extra-time et cetera. We got through it and that’s the most important thing.”
“It was a difficult game. Avondale took Waterford to extra-time there (before losing 2-1), they’re a serious intermediate team, like Cockhill.
“We aren’t of a standard where we can dismiss any intermediate team and certainly not Cockhill.
“I know them as well as anyone and I know what Cockhill bring to the table.”
Horgan did express his disappointment at the way his side put some pressure on themselves, inviting trouble so to speak, particularly from placed balls.
“My disappointment is the amount of set pieces that we gave away, needlessly,” he added.
“Delivery after delivery from Gerry Gill caused us no end of problems and that is where my disappointment is.
“We weren’t cute enough at the end. We did see out the game, but we made it very difficult for ourselves.
“We nearly paid the price, but we got away with it. We’re delighted to get through against a serious Cockhill side.
“It was always going to be a struggle. It’s great to go through to the next round. There was never going to be much in it.”