Carroll, Casement, Quinn, Callacher, Robinson, Mulgrew, Fallon, Millar (Mitchell), Cooper (O’Connor), Waterworth and J. Stewart (Clarke)
Linfield ensured a place in the League Cup final against Ballymena on February 16 with this hard fought 1-0 extra time semi final win against the cup holders Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.
David Healy named an unchanged starting eleven and an unchanged subs bench after Saturday’s 4-1 win against Crusaders at Windsor Park.
The first half was a cagey even affair with limited opportunitues for either side. Kirk Millar curled a shot round the far post for Linfield and Chris Hegarty came even closer for Dungannon when he headed a corner onto the base of the post.
Half time - Dungannon 0 - 0 Linfield
Linfield upped the tempo after the break and created numerous chances but unfortunately none of them were taken.
First, Niall Quinn’s free kick was well saved by the home keeper and then Jamie Mulgrew saw a superb strike from outside the box come crashing back off the cross bar.
Both Jordan Stewart and Joel Cooper saw efforts go narrowly wide of the post and another Cooper effort was well saved as the Blues increased the pressure in search of the vital breakthrough.
Cooper drove another effort agonisingly towards the back post where it just evaded the onrushing Andy Waterworth.
A low Andy Waterworth right wing cross was met first time by Jordan Stewart but at point blank range the home keeper produced a tremendous reaction save to push Stewart’s close range effort over the bar.
Michael O’Connor was introduced for Joel Cooper with ten minutes remaining and within his seconds his strike on goal was pushed behind for a corner.
A second half of Linfield dominance failed to produce the decisive goal and so the game was destined for extra time.
Full time 90 minutes - Dungannon 0 - 0 Linfield
Linfield broke the deadlock three minutes into extra time. Jamie Mulgrew chipped a delightful ball to the back post where it was met first time by Kirk Millar. His effort was parried by Morgan the home keeper but the rebound fell invitingly to Andy Waterworth who tucked the ball into the net for the goal Linfield had deserved.
Half time in extra time Dungannon 0 - 1 Linfield
Dungannon threw everything into holding onto their cup in the final 15 minutes. Smith brought a fine save out of Roy Carroll as the Swifts pressed and probed and exerted real pressure in search of the equaliser.
Linfield came close to a second when sub Andy Mitchell’s low right wing cross was met by Niall Quinn who fired his effort over the bar from close range.
Despite a nervy last few minutes Linfield held on for a deserved win and the League Cup can now be parked until mid February as Linfield turn their attention to a tricky trip to Newry on Saturday lunchtime.
Final score 120 minutes - Dungannon 0 - 1 Linfield
Man of the Match - inspirational Jamie Mulgrew