Match Details
Season :
Date :
23rd April 2019
Competition :
Irish Premier League
Venue :
Windsor Park
Referee :
Ross Dunlop
Linfield Scorers :
Kearns (11), O'Connor (37,38), J Stewart (48), Millar (84)
Cliftonville Scorer :
C McMenamin (75)
Linfield Team :
C Mitchell (GK), Casement (Hume 73), Callacher, Stafford (McGuinness 61'), Quinn, Millar, Fallon, Mulgrew, Kearns, Stewart, O'Connor (Reynolds 62)
Linfield Subs not used :
Forde, McClean, Doyle, Deane (gk)
Despite having already clinched the league championship, Linfield emphatically alleviated any notion that they were prepared to let the final fixtures of the season fizzle out as they bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Glenavon with a resounding victory over Cliftonville at Windsor Park tonight in their last home match of the season.

There was an early goal as Linfield found the net for the 100th time this season. Jordan Stewart showed dancing feet on the ball to beat a man before dinking a cross to the back post where Michael O’Connor headed the ball back for Daniel Kearns to score with a volley on the rebound.

Conor McMenamin tried to get Cliftonville back on level terms with a strike from distance with his weaker foot but it fizzled harmlessly over Conor Mitchell’s crossbar.

Ryan Curran also threatened when he took on a shot from outside the box but he fired a low shot wide and in hindsight he should have picked out Chris Curran in space to his right.

Michael O’Connor was back amongst the goals when he put Linfield two up on 38 minutes, wriggling free of his marker to thunder home a pinpoint cross from Jordan Stewart into the middle.

The striker found the net again just a minute later when he raced beyond a Cliftonville defender to reach a long ball before flicking the ball past another to put himself in the clear and when he eventually shot low Brian Neeson was unable to keep his shot out as Linfield took a three goal lead into the break.

Half Time: Linfield 3 – 0 Cliftonville

Relentless Linfield added a fourth on 48 minutes with a magical Jordan Stewart goal. The attacker robbed Jaimie McGovern of possession before twisting and turning in the box, ultimately unleashing a rocket of a strike past Brian Neeson who didn’t even have time to flinch in the Cliftonville goal.

Michael O’Connor almost completed his hat-trick with his final contribution of the night, but it wasn’t to be as he was twice denied by Neeson from close range.

Conor McMenamin went even closer to scoring than his first half effort when he controlled the ball before firing a right footed shot crashing off the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Recently turned 17, promising prospect Trai Hume was handed his senior Linfield debut on 73 minutes. The defender has came through the ranks and came in at right back as reward for some fine performances for the Rangers and Swifts this season.

The Reds pulled a goal back on 76 minutes when Ryan Curran’s shot was forced over the line by Conor McMenamin from close range.

And just two minutes later they were very nearly right back in proceedings when Chris Curran crashed a thunderous strike off the woodwork from the edge of the box.

Kirk Millar restored Linfield’s four goal lead on 85 minutes when he broke the offside trap to reach Jordan Stewart’s clever through ball before supplying a neat finish over Neeson with his fourth goal of the season.

Full Time: Linfield 5 – 1 Cliftonville Man of the Match: Jordan Stewart

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