Report of dramatic Cup semi win for Linfield Rangers

Posted : 21st March 2018 at 09:47:43

NIBFA League Cup Semi Final

St Oliver Plunkett 3 Linfield 3 (Linfield won 8-7 on penalties)

Linfield Rangers had an eclectic mix of ages in their ranks with players as young as 14 making their debut mingled with more experienced players who have turned out for the Swifts during the season. In a hard fought contest where no quarter was asked it was Linfield who had the first opportunity of the game on 12 minutes, when Lewis Quinn’s tantalising cross was dropped by the Plunkett keeper, but Ethan Wynne screwed his shot wide of the post. The Blues were not having it all their own way and the boys from Lenadoon almost opened their account on more than one occasion, but for some good saves from Scott Pengelly and determined defending from the outstanding Jake Corbett and co defender Ross Weatherup. Drew Barnes had to leave the action before the break to be replaced by 14 year old debutant Kyle Flynn.

The second half started in blistering fashion when Linfield took the lead on 48 minutes after the Plunkett keeper dwelt on the ball and Ethan Wynne charged it down and it rebounded into the net. Minutes later Plunkett had a man sent off for what seemed like dissent after a foul was given. Far from deter them, Plunkett seemed to get added vigour as they went in search of the equaliser and were soon rewarded when their centre forward scored from just inside the box. It was anyone’s game at this stage with play ebbing and flowing from end to end. Thomas McComb almost scored when his speculative free kick grazed the cross bar on 62 minutes, but at the other end Pengelly was called into action yet again to deny the opposition. The wee Blues almost scored when Lewis Quinn thundered a shot off the crossbar and Cameron Stewart following up blazed over the bar. With the clock ticking down Plunkett took the lead from the penalty spot when young Flynn was adjudged to have brought down an advancing forward. Plunkett celebrated as if the game was won but Linfield had other ideas and it was captain Ross Weatherup who struck home from 6 yards with two minutes left on the clock, so extra time it was to be.

In the first period young 15 year old Stewart who had an energetic game in the middle of the park broke away to slot home past the advancing keeper to give Linfield the lead they had craved with only the second period of extra time to play.

Unfortunately, Linfield could not hold the lead and Pengelly was beaten with two minutes left on the clock and on to the dreaded penalties.

With every player in the designated five scoring, it was down to sudden death. Linfield scored their first three but Pengelly saved the eighth kick against him to allow Linfield to progress to the May final against Glentoran.

Team : Pengelly Sterrett McComb, Corbett, Weatherup (capt) Stewart, Grattan, Quinn, Barnes, Wynne, Lawless Sub : Flynn

Bryan McCarroll
Linfield Rangers coach
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