Linfield Scorers :
Michael O'Connor (8'), Jordan Stewart (90')
Portadown Scorer :
Ryan Carmichael 70'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Portadown Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Carroll (GK), Casement, Callacher , Stafford, M.Clarke, Millar (Forde 65'), Mulgrew ©, Fallon, J.Stewart (Mitchell 90+1'), Quinn, O’Connor
Linfield Subs not used :
Deane, Nielsen, Garrett, Doyle, Reynolds
Portadown Team :
Dunne (GK), Carson,McCallum, Hall, Thompson, Mackle, Wilson, Carmichael, Storey, Lavery, Salley
Portadown Subs not used :
Blair (GK), Neill, Kilmartin, Anderson, Tipton, Robinson, Douglas
A late winner helped Linfield scrape past a spirited Portadown team at Shamrock Park tonight to send David Healy’s men into the semi-final of the Bet McLean League Cup.
Things got off to a good start for Linfield on the night as they look the lead with eight minutes on the clock. Kirk Millar dinked the ball to Jordan Stewart who checked inside before seeing his powerful shot well saved by Portadown goalkeeper Declan Dunne, with Michael O’Connor on hand to tuck home the rebound from close range.
Kirk Millar threatened to add a second on two separate occasions in the first half when he got his head on in swinging crosses from Niall Quinn, but the winger nodded just over on both occasions.
Portadown passed up a golden chance to equalise on the brink of half time when the very impressive Ryan Carmichael stormed down the right, checked inside and put it on a plate for onrushing striker Adam Salley but the former Linfield forward fluffed his effort wide from 12 yards.
Half Time: Portadown 0 – 1 Linfield
The second half was a bit livelier and Linfield were denied by the woodwork twice within a minute. Niall Quinn was given time and space to shoot from distance and he duly obliged – unleashing a fierce strike which, with the hint of a deflection, cannoned off the crossbar. The ball hit the goalkeeper on the way down and behind for a corner which was delivered by Kirk Millar and Mark Stafford rose well, heading against the far post.
Portadown were showing persistence and moments after Chris Lavery fired just over from outside the box, they were reward 20 minutes from time. The outstanding Ryan Carmichael nodded home at the back post after Sean Mackle’s corner was flicked on as the Ports drew level.
Matthew Tipton’s team had their tails up after that and carved out a few half chances, whilst Stephen Fallon drove to the by-line at the other end before picking out substitute Lorcan Forde, however, he could only hit the side netting from a tight angle.
The game was open and could have swung either way. Thankfully, it swung Linfield’s way late on. Niall Quinn set Matthew Clarke away down the left with a quality pass and the fullback hung up a temping cross to the back post. Michael O’Connor challenged for it but he hit the ground before Fallon got a touch into the path of Jordan Stewart who rifled the ball into the roof of the net in front of the delighted travelling support on a bitter cold night.
Linfield will now take on holders Dungannon Swifts in the semi-final next Tuesday evening at Stangmore Park as the Blues aspire to lift the trophy for the first time in a decade.
Full Time: Portadown 1 – 2 Linfield