Linfield completed their season with a comfortable 5-0 league win against Crusaders in the autumn sunshine at New Midgley Park on Sunday afternoon.
The League title may have been won at the Oval on September 28 but just as they continued their impressive form in Strabane in midweek, so too Linfield finished their season strongly with today’s 5-0 win.
Linfield went into this game with Crusaders knowing the trophy presentation would take place at New Midgley Park after the game.
The final Linfield team line up of the season was as follows
1 - Louise McFrederick
14 - Kelsie Burrows
5 - Ashley Hutton
6 - Jennifer McDade
8 - Sarah Venney
7 - Megan Bell
18 - Rebecca McKenna
97 - Chloe McCarron
19 - Abbie Magee
9 - Rebecca Bassett
11 - Kirsty McGuinness
4 - Zoe Kilpatrick - replaced Kelsie Burrows
21 - Caitlin Rae - replaced Rebecca McKenna
16 - Emma Doyle - replaced Rebecca Bassett
Linfield almost took the lead in the opening minute but a free kick from Kirsty McGuinness went just over the bar.
However, on 4 minutes the league’s leading goal scorer (again) was not to be denied when she got on the end of a low right wing cross by Rebecca McKenna to convert from close range to put Linfield into an early lead.
Chloe McCarron shot just over the bar on 6 minutes but Linfield doubled their advantage after just 8 minutes. Jennifer McDade got on the end of a cross by Megan Bell to the back post and McDade converted from close range.
Linfield almost added a third on 20 minutes after a fine flowing move. Megan Bell sent Rebecca McKenna clear wide right and her low cross was met first time by hard working Abbie Magee but Hamilton, the stand in visiting keeper, produced a good save.
On 43 minutes the third goal arrived. Abbie Magee’s right wing cross was converted by Rebecca Bassett to increase Linfield’s lead going into the interval.
Half time - Linfield 3 Crusaders 0
Linfield almost added a fourth in the opening minute of the second half. A teasing left wing cross from McGuinness was met by Rebecca McKenna but she scooped her effort over the bar.
On 47 minutes Linfield added a 4th goal. A cross field pass by Chloe McCarron released Kirsty McGuinness wide left and her first time volley was perfectly arrowed into the far corner of the net to put Linfield 4-0 ahead.
Linfield continued to press and from Megan Bell’s left wing cross, Abbie Magee headed just wide.
The post and bar had thwarted Linfield on 6 occasions in Strabane in midweek and today at New Midgley Park, Linfield again endured the same misfortune.
Firstly, Chloe McCarron hit the crossbar from the edge of the box and then Rebecca Bassett hit the post, before Megan Bell hit the post with a fine strike from the edge of the box.
As the game wore on, young players Emma Doyle, Zoe Kilpatrick and Caitlin Rae were introduced to give them a taste of the action. Burrows, Bassett and McKenna were withdrawn, allowing them to begin to focus on the upcoming trophy presentation celebrations.
Linfield added a fifth goal and a deserved goal too for hard working Abbie Magee. Megan Bell sent her clear and although the keeper blocked the first strike on goal, Magee pounced on the rebound to steer the ball into the unguarded net.
A thoroughly professional display to chalk up the 16th league win out of 18, to round off an outstsanding League campaign.
Ronnie Morrison Player of the Match - Rebecca McKenna
Final score - Linfield 5 Crusaders 0