A few weeks ago at New Midgley Park Linfield dug deep to rely on courage, resilience and character to overcome a formidable challenge from a strong, well organised Glentoran team.
And last night against the same opponents this time at Ashfield boys’ school, it was more of the same as Linfield recorded a pleasing, hard fought 2-1 League cup semi final win, to battle their way to the Seaview League Cup final on June 29 against Cliftonville.
An exciting end to end ‘Big Two’ derby cup tie played in great spirit between two fine teams was played in front of a really good sized and ever increasing crowd, as more and more supporters get behind Phil Lewis's team in midweek summer league football action.
It's a third League Cup final in a row for Linfield - two years ago Newry defeated Linfield 2-0 in Armagh but last year Linfield won the cup, winning 6-3 also against Newry but this time at Solitude.
Last night's Linfield team line up was as follows
1 - Lauren Perry
4 - Chelsea Myles
20 - Lauren Robson
3 - Louise McFrederick
6 - Jennifer McDade
8 - Sarah Venney
2 - Hannah Doherty
18 - Rebecca McKenna
97 - Chloe McCarron
10 - Alison Smyth
11 - Kirsty McGuinness
19 - Abbie Magee - replaced Hannah Doherty
22 - Louise McDaniel - replaced Rebecca McKenna
14 - Kelsie Burrows
7 - Megan Bell
Glentoran were first to threaten with a 5th minute goalmouth scramble ending in Chelsea Myles clearing the ball off the line.
Linfield took the lead on 12 minutes when a left wing Lauren Robson cross was met first time on the half volley by Hannah Doherty and her well struck left foot strike sailed over the keeper’s head into the net to put the cup holders 1-0 ahead.
In the 15th minute a Kirsty McGuinness strike from distance flashed just wide of the far post and on 21 minutes McGuinness got her head on a left wing Doherty cross but the header was just over the bar.
Glentoran were dangerous from set plays throughout and on 28 minutes Milligan got on the end of a deep left wing cross but her glancing header was wide of the back post.
In the 38th minute a terrific Kirsty McGuinness free kick from almost on the half way line was pushed over the cross bar by a grateful home keeper and on 44 minutes Alison Smyth got on the end of another McGuinness free kick but her effort went the wrong side of the post.
In first half injury time, the home keeper was glad to see Alison Smyth's fierce strike from distance clear the cross bar, as Linfield finished the half strongly but unable to add to their lead.
Half time - Glentoran 0 Linfield 1
Kirsty McGuinness almost scored 4 minutes after the re-start but her shot from just outside the box whistled past the far post and on 54 minutes McGuinness picked up a yellow card for a foul in midfield.
Glentoran started to threaten more and more and were rewarded for their efforts when Linfield failed to clear a right wing corner and Rachel Rogan headed in the equaliser from close range in the 64th minute.
Abbie Magee was a 69th minute replacement for Hannah Doherty and on 71 minutes McMaster had a great chance for the home team but her effort went wide of the post.
Linfield retook the lead on 74 minutes. Chloe McCarron picked up the ball in midfield and advanced, before shooting low into the bottom corner from just outside the box to put Linfield 2-1 ahead.
In the 77th minute Louise McDaniel replaced the hard working Rebecca McKenna and on 84 minutes Rachel Rogan came so close to an equaliser for Glentoran when her terrific shot from distance grazed the top of the crossbar with a grateful Lauren Perry glad to see the ball end up behind her goal.
Glentoran pressed and pressed but the Linfield defence held firm. Alison Smyth was yellow carded in the 88th minute and Louise McDaniel almost added a third in injury time. She rounded the keeper and just as she was about to slot the ball into the net, a Glentoran defender got back to block the shot.
Player of the Match - Chloe McCarron
Final result - Glentoran 1 Linfield 2
International call ups mean Linfield's league game away to Sion Swifts next week has been postponed, so Linfield's fixture schedule for June looks as follows.
June 18 - Irish Cup at home to Lisburn Rangers
June 20 - League game at home to Derry City
June 22 - County Antrim FA cup semi final against either Crusaders, Cliftonville or Carnmoney
June 27 - League game away to Glentoran
June 29 - League Cup final against Cliftonville at Seaview