Linfield Scorers :
Burns 38’, Mitchell 76’, Smyth 79’
Coleraine Scorer :
Coleraine Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Carroll (GK), Casement, Stafford (Robinson 45’), Haughey, Quinn (C.Stewart 75’), R.Clarke (Millar 45’), Mulgrew ©, Lowry (Mitchell 68’), J.Stewart, Burns (Garrett 68’), Smyth
Coleraine Team :
Johns (GK), Mullan, Douglas ©, O’Donnell, Traynor, McCauley (Kirk 73’), Lyons, Harkin, Carson (Parkhill 73’), McGonigle, Bradley
Coleraine Subs not used :
Champions Linfield took on Coleraine this afternoon in the curtain raiser for the Northern Irish football league season and it was the Blues came out on top to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet. However, it was all for a great cause in the form of ‘action mental health’, an organisation who continue to do great work for the community.
The Blues threatened for the first time after just two minutes when Aaron Burns wriggled free to get on the end of Paul Smyth’s corner. However, Burns saw his header fly past the wrong side of the post.
Coleraine then passed up a good chance when Jamie McGonigle produced good skill to beat Niall Quinn before finding Darren McCauley with a deep cross to the back post, however, McCauley volleyed wide with his left foot.
Neat build-up allowed Paul Smyth time and space to cross and he picked out Jordan Stewart at the back post, only for Stewart to see his guided header pushed around the post by Johns.
Kearney’s men drew first blood on the counter attack when McGonigle raced clear before pulling the ball across the box for former Linfield winger Josh Carson to dispatch the ball into the corner.
Linfield passed up another chance on 34 minutes when Stephen Lowry fired over from Jordan Stewart’s cutback, just moments after Burns had a goalbound shot blocked following good play by Smyth.
Birthday Boy Healy gave the nod of approval as his side drew level after 38 minutes in a neat move, Quinn picking out Stewart who threaded a superb pass into the path of Aaron Burns to fire the ball expertly into the roof of the net.
Half Time: Linfield 1 – 1 Coleraine
Coleraine almost took the lead shortly after the break when the ball broke free for Aaron Traynor to hit a snapshot which was well held by Roy Carroll.
The Blues were then denied by the post on 64 minutes when Paul Smyth headed against the woodwork following Haughey’s header back across goal.
Aaron O’Donnell was next to threaten with a clever effort, getting a deft touch to McCauley’s low free-kick as the ball trickled just wide of Carroll’s post.
Linfield notched the decisive goal on 76 minutes with a fantastically worked free-kick, Millar taking a quick one and playing a one-two with Casement before finding Andrew Mitchell at the back post as the midfielder finished with great aplomb, right into the top corner with a cushioned volley.
Substitute Cameron Stewart showed an abundance of pace to turn his man and make space for a shot from range but he fired wide with a left footed strike.
Paul Smyth put the icing on the cake on 79 minutes when he raced through on goal to reach Kirk Millar’s measured through ball before lobbing the goalkeeper with a side-footed finish from the edge of the box. Another very well taken goal.
Full Time: Linfield 3 – 1 Coleraine
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Paul Smyth