A CATASTROPHIC second-half collapse saw Greenock tumble out of the West of Scotland Cup on Saturday.

The Ravenscraig men seemed to be cruising to the quarter-finals when they went in at the interval 2-0 up on their lower league opponents.

But Benburb staged a dramatic comeback in the second period, and it is they who will now travel to face Kilwinning Rangers in the last eight.

However, Greenock can only have themselves to blame, with a goalkeeping blunder and yet another red card contributing to their downfall.

It all looked so promising early on, when after a period of sustained pressure they took the lead on 27 minutes.

Thomas Docherty flighted a neat pass over the Benburb defence into the path of Craig Brown, who strode on into the box before drilling a low shot past Bens keeper Robert Tiropopoulous.

Barri Stanton then blazed a shot over the bar, and Ryan Craig had a header cleared off the line as Greenock continued to dominate.

And the second goal eventually came seven minutes before the interval, when Luke Murray broke clear down the left wing and sent a cross into the box, where Martin Orr fired high into the net to seemingly put Greenock on easy street.

Brown had the ball in the net within moments of the second half getting underway, as the home side pressed for the third goal which would surely have killed off the tie, but the big striker was well offside.

However an uncharacteristic mistake by home keeper Ryan McWilliams on 68 minutes gave the Bens some hope.

A speculative shot from outside the box by centre-forward Ryan Livingston squirmed from the keeper’s grasp and trundled into the net.

Three minutes later it was 2-2, when a cross into the box saw Scott Jarvie net with a simple header.

And the Greenock collapse was complete when Benburb astonishingly took the lead on 78 minutes, when centre-half Andrew Wright got on the end of a corner kick to head home and stun the Greenock faithful.

But there was much more drama to come.

Within six minutes of coming on as a sub, Allan Docherty was ordered off for a kick at Jarvie. Docherty had made a big impression in his brief time on the park, and his dismissal seemed to signal the end of any hope of Greenock rescuing the situation.

But they looked to have done just that in the dying stages, when sub Brendan Gillan drove home a free-kick from the edge of the box.

Referee Graham Grainger gave the goal, but then saw his assistant Ross Hardie’s flag raised, and after a brief consultation the strike was chopped off.

Greenock were outraged, with the decision having been given for offside, with Orr apparently being in the line of sight of the Bens keeper as the free-kick came in.

The final whistle sounded a minute later, leaving the ‘Nock frustrated at not at least having taken the tie to a penalty shoot-out.

But manager Martin Campbell, in an honest assessment of the game, says his side wouldn’t even have deserved that after such a poor second half display.

He said: “I don’t have any words to explain what happened there. Yes, I am disappointed at the linesman’s decision, but we got everything we deserved today. If we had taken it to penalties and won, we would have been lucky.

“The mistake by Ryan let Benburb back into it, but we should have pressed forward again and got a third goal. But we seemed to panic, and it all went wrong after that.” Greenock: McWilliams, Orr, Cunning, Scott, Murray, Begley, T. Docherty, Stanton (A. Docherty 78), Brown, Craig (Gillan 71), Munro. Subs not used: Downie, Boyd, Dow.

Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar. Match sponsored by Garden Care Dunoon.