Match Details
Season :
2017/2018
Date :
12th August 2017
Competition :
Irish Premier League
Venue :
Windsor Park
Referee :
Arnold Hunter
Linfield Scorers :
Quinn 16', Millar 40'
Carrick Rangers Yellow Cards :
McNally, Edgar
Teams
Linfield Team :
Carroll (GK), Casement, Haughey, Stafford (Robinson 68’), Quinn, Garrett, Mulgrew ©, Mitchell, Millar (C.Stewart 74’), J.Stewart (R.Clarke 82’), Smyth
Linfield Subs not used :
M.Clarke, Fallon
Carrick Rangers Team :
Doherty (GK), Smith, Edgar, Gage, Surgeoner, McNally, Taggart, Morrow (Chapman 80’), Roy, Malone, Suarez (Mooney 58’)
Carrick Rangers Subs not used :
Rice, Maybin, McKenna
Report
Linfield kicked off the defence of their Irish Premiership title this afternoon with three points as they overcame visitors Carrick Rangers at Windsor Park. The Blues were without suspended duo Stephen Lowry and Aaron Burns - therefore Robert Garrett and Andrew Mitchell were awarded starting berths. Carrick’s team included a number of new signings and a first competitive match in charge for former Irish League defender David McAlinden.

The Blues threatened early on with a pre-planned corner routine as Jordan Stewart fired just over, after getting on the end of Kirk Millar’s low corner before Paul Smyth had an effort blocked from close range after Millar’s cross. Niall Quinn’s follow-up shot was comfortably gathered by Carrick goalkeeper Harry Doherty.

Niall Quinn opened Linfield’s account on 16 minutes with a goal of real quality. Mitchell switched the pall out to Jordan Stewart on the left flank. Stewart fed Mulgrew and he threaded an inch-perfect pass through to Quinn who picked out the far corner with a crisp strike from 15 yards.

Mitchell’s eyes lit up on the half-hour mark as he stormed into a pocket of space and unleashed a curling shot on goal which was well palmed away by Doherty. The resulting corner eventually landed into Mitchell’s path and he drilled a left-footed volley agonisingly wide.

Kirk Millar sent David Healy’s team into the break with a two-goal cushion as he beat Doherty with a guided header thanks to Niall Quinn’s accurate cross from just inside the box, down the left side.

Half Time: Linfield 2 – 0 Carrick Rangers

And it was Millar who almost made it three on the other side of the break, another header from another superb delivery from Niall, but this time Millar’s header flew past the post.

Soon after, experienced midfielders Garrett and Mulgrew combined before the former saw his shot deflected into the grateful arms of Doherty.

Jordan Stewart created the opportunity for Linfield to add a third with a sumptuous piece of skill, dropping into a pocket of space, nutmegging McNally and being chopped down inside the box. Stewart took the resulting penalty. However, his low shot was superbly saved by Doherty.

Doherty came to Carrick’s rescue once more as he palmed away a goalbound Mark Haughey header, from another golden delivery from Quinn.

Carrick raced up the other end and wasted their best chance of the afternoon when Dale Malone fired just wide following good work from Lee Chapman as he skipped past Robinson and provided the low cross.

Full Time: Linfield 2 – 0 Carrick Rangers

LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Andrew Mitchell

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