23rd February 2019
Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorer :
Josh Robinson (54')
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Callacher, J Stewart
Ballymena United Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Gareth Deane (GK), Chris Casement, Jimmy Callacher, Josh Robinson, Ryan McGivern, Niall Quinn, Kyle McClean, Jamie Mulgrew (C), Daniel Kearns (Jordan Stewart 66'), Marek Cervenka (Michael O'Connor 66'), Andy Waterworth
Linfield Subs not used :
C Mitchell (GK), Stafford, Clarke, Millar, Forde
Ballymena United Team :
Ross Glendinning (GK), Andy McGrory (William Faulkner 75'), Jonny Addis, Scot Whiteside, Jim Ervin (C), Steven McCullough (Shane McGinty 85'), Tony Kane, Jude Winchester (Johnny McMurray 69'), Leroy Millar, Adam Lecky, Cathair Friel
Ballymena United Subs not used :
Jordan Williamson (GK), Conor Quigley, Albert Watson, Matthew Shevlin
LINFIELD extended their lead to nine points at the summit of the Danske Bank Premiership with a hard fought victory over Ballymena United as Josh Robinson scored a second half winner.
Given the two teams had met a week previous in the Bet McLean League Cup final, this was almost like round two, although David Healy made three changes to the team that lifted the Cup. Summer signing Ryan McGivern came in to make a long awaited debut as he replaced Matthew Clarke at left back. Daniel Kearns and Marek Cervenka also came back in, in place of Jordan Stewart and Kirk Millar respectively.
Linfield worked the first opening as Niall Quinn flicked a header into Andy Waterworth’s path but last week’s cup clinching hero fired wide with a left footed shot from the edge of the box.
The biggest chance of the half came for Ballymena early on, however. Andy McGrory ventured in and lobbed the ball past the onrushing Gareth Deane but the alert Ryan McGivern got back to hook the ball off the line.
Ballymena target man Adam Lecky went close to an opener, so class that the travelling support thought it was in! He headed McCullough’s cross at goal but it dropped past the top corner.
The Sky Blues missed a good opportunity in the closing stages of the first half when Scot Whiteside met Steven McCullough’s free-kick at the back post, only to head over the crossbar.
Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Ballymena United
Josh Robinson went within a whisker of scoring a thunderbolt on 52 minutes when space opened up and he hit a strike from 25 yards, only to see the sweet strike leave the crossbar shaking...
But the big defender wasn’t to be denied! Just a minute later he got on the end of Kyle McClean’s inviting corner to power home a header, sending Windsor Park into raptures as Linfield took the lead.
Such as Linfield’s professionalism in their performance they were comfortable for a lot of the second half, although couldn’t quite grab a second. Waterworth did go close to one from Michael O’Connor’s low cross but the ball wouldn’t fall in the striker’s favour.
United went within a whisker of an equaliser on 86 minutes. Substitute Shane McGinty met Leroy Millar’s corner with a good header which would hit the crossbar. Gareth Deane appeared to get a superb fingertip to it but a goal kick was what was awarded.
Ballymena striker Adam Lecky was left fuming on 89 minutes when he thought his team should have had a penalty. Tony Kane pulled the ball back to the striker and his shot was blocked by Callacher, with Lecky believing the ball struck the defender’s arm.
Full Time: Linfield 1 – 0 Ballymena United
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Josh Robinson