Match Details
Season :
2018/2019
Date :
1st January 2019
Competition :
Irish Premier League
Venue :
Clandeboye Rd
Referee :
Evan Boyce
Linfield Scorers :
Jimmy Callacher (58', 75')
Linfield Yellow Card :
Joel Cooper
Ards Yellow Cards :
Kyle Cherry, Josh Kelly, Kym Nelson
Teams
Linfield Team :
Roy Carroll (GK), Chris Casement, Josh Robinson, Jimmy Callacher, Niall Quinn, Jamie Mulgrew (C), Stephen Fallon, Kirk Millar, Jordan Stewart (Daniel Kearns 78'), Joel Cooper (Matthew Clarke 78'), Andy Waterworth
Linfield Subs not used :
Deane, Stafford, Mitchell, Garrett, Reynolds
Ards Team :
Sam Johnston (GK), Michael Kerr, Callum Byers (C), Adam McAleenan, Craig McClean, Kye Cherry (D McAllister 65') Josh Kelly, Kym Nelson, Eamon McAlister, Jonah Mitchell (McLellan 68'), Mark Kelly (Aaron Boyd 78')
Ards Subs not used :
Davidson, McKenna, Brown, Johnston
Report
There was New Year cheer for Linfield as a hard fought win over Ards at the Bangor Fuels Arena sent The Blues to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

It was a strong second half performance which got David Healy’s men over the line, with the first half proving to be quite frustrating.

The best of the chances in the first half fell for Ards. Just three minutes into the game Roy Carroll rescued The Blues with a top save down to his right to keep out Jonah Mitchell’s low strike which was heading for the corner.

Carroll showed his class again on 17 minutes when Kym Nelson leathered the ball from a free-kick on the edge of the box. The ball took a slight deflection but Carroll was still able to react and push it out to his left.

A few half chances were all Linfield had in the first half as Ards defended resolutely. Jamie Mulgrew spotted Sam Johnston out of the Ards goal but the Blues’ skipper couldn’t quite get his audacious effort right. Jordan Stewart also fired a low strike just wide from 20 yards.

The lively Stewart almost picked out Waterworth in the middle just before the break but the ball drifted just over his head before Niall Quinn fired over on the follow-up.

Half Time: Ards 0 – 0 Linfield

Whatever David Healy said in the dressing room at half time seemed to spur his players on as they upped the ante. A few dangerous crosses came in from the right and Andy Waterworth was particularly unlucky as he just couldn’t quite get a clean contact on his attempted acrobatic volley.

It looked increasingly likely that a breakthrough wasn’t far away and thankfully for Linfield it arrived on 58 minutes. Jimmy Callacher continued his goalscoring heroics as he got across his man to head the ball past Sam Johnston courtesy of Niall Quinn’s excellent corner.

In what seemed like a carbon copy of the first goal, Callacher steered home another header on 75 minutes to make it 2-0. His desire got him onto the end of the corner once again as the defender took his goal tally for the season to a very impressive nine goals.

Kirk Millar was unlucky midway through the half when he attempted to lob the onrushing goalkeeper after dispossession of a defender but his effort dropped just wide.

Substitute Matthew Clarke also went close when he almost found the net from an improbable angle. It could easily have caught Johnston out in the Ards goal but he was alert to the danger.

Linfield’s corners were superb and this time it was Kirk Millar who supplied it. Josh Robinson rose well but couldn’t quite hit the target. He was unfortunate on a few occasions not to join his defensive partner on the scoresheet.

Full Time: Ards 0 – 2 Linfield

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