Linfield Scorers :
Josh Robinson 58', Andy Waterworth 62', Jordan Stewart 78'.
Linfield Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Deane (GK), Haughey, Robinson,, Callacher, M.Clarke, Garrett, Mulgrew, Millar, R.Clarke (J.Stewart 68’), Burns, Waterworth (C.Stewart 71’)
Linfield Subs not used :
Stafford, Lowry, Mitchell
Ballinamallard United Team :
Brush (GK), McLaughlin, Taheny, Richard Clarke, McGinty, Hutchinson (Brennan 65’), Curran, Martyn (Burns 65’), Leddy, Armstrong (McCann 87’), Smyth
Ballinamallard United Subs not used :
Linfield and their dedicated followers made the long trip down to County Fermanagh for this evening’s Bet McLean League Cup clash with Ballinamallard. David Healy was boosted by the timely return of talisman Andrew Waterworth, back in action for the first time since picking up a knee injury against Celtic back in July.
The home side passed up a golden chance following a bright start to proceedings. Shane McGinty showed good skill to get to the touchline and provide the perfect cross for Stuart Hutchinson, who headed over with the goal at his mercy. The Ballinamallard midfielder could and should have done better with their only real chance of the half.
Ballinamallard goalkeeper Richard Brush did well to keep the score level when Linfield created their first chance after a quarter of an hour when he got an outstretched leg to block Aaron Burns from close range following a low cross from Kirk Millar out on the left.
Blues stopper Gareth Deane was called into action on the half-hour mark, showing good handling to get down to smother Jonathan Leddy’s low free-kick from 25 yards. Linfield then raced up the other end, the ball falling to Burns following a surging run by Robert Garrett, but Burns was unable to find the target from around 12 yards out.
Ross Clarke was next to go close when he cut inside onto his left foot and fired a low shot at goal but it was well held by Brush. Despite Linfield being in the ascendency for large spells in the first half, they weren’t able to make the breakthrough as the teams entered the break with the deadlock unbroken.
Half Time: Ballinamallard United 0 Linfield 0
Fit again Andrew Waterworth had a chance on 54 minutes when Ross Clarke provided a perfect cross following a driving run, however, Waterworth headed over from close range. The striker may have been rusty after a lack of match action, but knowing him he will be disappointed he didn’t give Linfield the lead.
The Blues finally broke the deadlock on 58 minutes. Waterworth had a shot superbly saved by Brush who palmed the shot over the crossbar, only for Josh Robinson to head Kirk Millar’s resulting corner into the top left corner after connecting at the front post.
Healy’s men added a second goal on 62 minutes. Kirk Millar was once again the provider, this time teeing Waterworth up for a goal-scoring return as he nodded Millar’s deep cross past the impressive Richard Brush. A bullet header of sheer quality.
Jordan Stewart, who netted a hat-trick against the Mallards a few weeks ago, made it three nil on 78 minutes when he arrived at the back post to slid the ball home with a neat finish on the end of Matthew Clarke’s driven cross.
It turned out to be a pleasing night for Linfield as Waterworth returned to get through 71 minutes unscathed as well as finding the net, three goals scored by the Blues, a clean sheet and progression to the next round of the cup.
Full Time: Ballinamallard United 0 Linfield 3
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Kirk Millar