Report on League Cup final win

Posted : 1st July 2018 at 07:22:07

Linfield Ladies retained the NIFL League cup following a 4-1 triumph in Friday night's cup final win against Cliftonville at Seaview.

It was the first women's domestic game to be broadcast online by the BBC and they and NIFL are to be commended for their promotion of the game which attracted a very positive attendance inside the Seaview stadium.

There was a family atmosphere, as the crowd enjoyed the glorious sunshine which again forced the players to have water breaks midway through both the first and second halfs of the game.

The family atmosphere was enhanced with the participation of a large number of young mascots from the hugely successful Linfield Ladies Youth Academy.

Enormous credit for this success must go to manager Phil Lewis, his coaches and backroom staff as well as the players of the Linfield Ladies squad. Only 48 hours earlier Linfield had defeated Glentoran 3-0 in a physically demanding battle at New Midgley Park, so to win the League cup final at Seaview against a strong Cliftonville team so soon afterwards speaks volumes for the character, hunger, passion, togetherness and fitness, as well as talent in this Linfield team.

In the build up to the game the squad had received numerous good will messages from across the Linfield family - from chairman Roy McGivern to manager David Healy and his assistant Ross Oliver and many others.

On Wednesday night six Linfield directors attended the home game against Glentoran and for Friday's League cup final at Seaview there were again six Linfield directors present to witness the pleasing Linfield cup triumph. The six were President Peter Lunn MBE, sponsor Stephen Dickson, player of the match sponsor Ronnie Morrison, Stephen Shaw, Jonathan Lamont and the director responsible for Linfield Ladies FC Andy Conn.

Linfield had defeated Crusaders and Glentoran on the way to the League cup final where another Belfast team in Cliftonville awaited the Linfield team which lined up as follows.

1 - Lauren Perry
4 - Chelsea Myles
20 - Lauren Robson
6 - Jennifer McDade
3 - Louise McFrederick
8 - Sarah Venney
7 - Megan Bell
97 - Chloe McCarron
18 - Rebecca McKenna
22 - Louise McDaniel
11 - Kirsty McGuinness


10 - Alison Smyth - replaced Rebecca McKenna
14 - Kelsie Burrows - replaced Chelsea Myles
9 - Hannah Doherty - replaced Louise McDaniel
2 - Kirsty Cameron
19 - Naomi Donnan

It was Cliftonville who settled quicker into the game with Linfield looking slightly jaded in the opening 15 minutes which was perhaps understandable after the Big Two Derby game two days earlier.

Cliftonville may have started on top but the game swung Linfield's way with the opening goal after 20 minutes. Former Linfield forward Amber Dempster handled in the box and Linfield star Kirsty McGuinness stepped up to confidently fire Linfield ahead from the penalty spot.

McGuinness almost doubled Linfield's lead when she got on the end of a pinpoint Rebecca McKenna cross but the shot from McGuinness went just wide of the far post.

Lauren Robson had a shot well saved by Callaghan in the Reds goal and the former Linfield keeper made an even better save minutes later after McGuinness charged down a clearance and Callaghan had to be at full stretch to push the ball behind for a corner.

Cliftonville equalised after 34 minutes when former Linfield winger Chloe Orr angled a fine shot back across goal and into the far top corner beyond the reach of the fully stretched Lauren Perry in the Linfield goal.

Linfield however restored their advantage in the 40th minute. Megan Bell drove forward into midfield. She released Louise McDaniel who got to the ball before Callaghan in the Cliftonville goal. McDaniel had the composure to take the ball round the keeper and pick her spot beyond the reach of the covering defender who had got back on the goal line. It was a cool finish by the forward who had scored her 12th goal in 5 games in 12 days to maintain her excellent goalscoring run and to send Linfield into an interval lead.

Half time - Cliftonville 1 Linfield 2

Linfield extended their lead in the opening minute of the second half. Kirsty McGuinness produced a terrific left wing cross and there in the six yard box to head into the net was left back Lauren Robson. The perfect start to the half with the important goal scored by the ever consistent Lauren Robson.

Kirsty McGuinness came close to extending the lead further when she fired just past the far post from a wide left position and on the hour mark Alison Smyth replaced Rebecca McKenna.

Bell almost added another but her shot was well saved by Callaghan. On 82 minutes Kelsie Burrows replaced Chelsea Myles and in the 88th minute Hannah Doherty replaced Louise McDaniel.

Final score - Cliftonville 1 Linfield 4

The BBC and NIFL named Louise McDaniel as their Player of the Match and named Chloe McCarron as the club's Player of the Match.

After the final whistle Captain Sarah Venney lifted the NIFL League cup for the second year in a row.

The same two teams will meet at the same venue on Saturday July 28 but this time in the final of the County Antrim FA Cup

Before then Linfield will enjoy a few days rest before they face another huge week with three more games in quick succession.

The games are as follows.

8pm on Wednesday July 4

Premier League at New Midgley Park.

Linfield v Portadown

8pm on Friday July 6

Premier League at Melville Sports complex in Strabane

Sion Swifts v Linfield

7.30pm on Monday July 9

Irish Cup quarter final at the Brandywell

Derry City v Linfield

Supporters clubs or businesses are encouraged to assist the club by sponsoring the home game or sponsoring the away travel to either of the games in the North West.

Above - the team behind the team - Syd Thompson, Jordan Milne (physio), Mark Dickson, Phil Lewis (manager), Michelle Crawford and Alan Perry.

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