Gareth Deane (GK), Trai Hume (Niall Quinn 77’), Ryan McGivern, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke (Daniel Reynolds 86’), Kirk Millar, Jamie Mulgrew ©, Stephen Fallon (Matthew Shevlin 82’), Joel Cooper (Andrew Mitchell 94’), Andrew Waterworth, Shayne Lavery
Holders Linfield had to overcome a major scare to progress past Ballinamallard in the Bet McLean League Cup this evening, with extra time goals sealing the win over a spirited Mallards at Ferney Park after coming from behind.
Harry McConkey and Ballinamallard are no strangers to pulling off cup upsets after reaching last season’s Irish Cup final and it looked like they were going to defy the odds once again as they took an early lead. No more than four minutes were on the clock at Ferney Park when the hosts took a shock lead through their fan favourite striker Ryan Campbell, hooking a volley past Gareth Deane from Callum Moorehead’s cross.
Linfield goalkeeper Deane had to be out quickly to deny Ballinamallard a second just minutes later to block an effort from Campbell after he’d raced beyond the Linfield backline.
In response, Shayne Lavery headed just wide of the post from a good cross by Kirk Millar, before a rasping low strike from winger Joel Cooper had to be well saved by veteran keeper John Connolly.
The Blues were getting closer to a leveller and Waterworth was next to threaten after a neat turn and shot, only to see it come off the post after being picked out by Jamie Mulgrew. However, the ball went for a corner and ultimately the equaliser arrived on 34 minutes when Kirk Millar’s corner was headed past Connolly by Shayne Lavery.
Ryan McGivern scored his second goal in a week when he put Linfield ahead on 38 minutes. It was a well-worked set-play with Waterworth turning Millar’s short corner into the box and McGivern finished well from close range for his second goal of the season.
The Mallards finished the half strongly as Campbell’s effort skimmed the crossbar before a Linfield defender cleared a header off the line to send David Healy’s team into the break with a slender lead.
Half Time: Ballinamallard 1 – 2 Linfield
The Mallards were back on level terms ten minutes into the second half. Linfield didn’t deal with a corner as John Edgar’s flick on found Ryan Campbell who headed past Deane from close range for his second goal of the night.
The Fermanagh men then took the lead on 75 minutes when Jason McCartney’s inviting cross from the left after a quick breakaway was poked home by Callum Moorehead inside the box after the winger beat Linfield defenders to the ball.
David Healy had no option but to throw caution into the wind in the closing stages as he threw his attackers on. One of those attackers would level the scores just two minutes after coming on. Daniel Reynolds was the hero as he controlled the ball after Connolly’s attempted clearance before firing the ball into the net.
Jimmy Callacher almost snatched it for Linfield in injury time when he connected with Kirk Millar’s cross, only to see his header strike the woodwork, much to the disbelief of the travelling support who’d made the long trip to Fermanagh.
Full Time: Ballinamallard 3 – 3 Linfield
The game went into extra time and Linfield’s fitness took effect. Healy’s men took the lead on 94 minutes on the counter when Kirk Millar got a cross in which was diverted into the net off a Ballinamallard defender.
The Blues made it 5-3 on 98 minutes as Andy Waterworth netted his fourth goal of the season. Kirk Millar was once again the provider with a cross for Waterworth who finished well at the back post.
Sean McEvoy pulled one back on 119 minutes for Ballinamallard with a well placed shot from the edge of the box as Linfield stood off him, allowing him to fire the ball high into the net.
Full time AET: Ballinamallard 4-5 Linfield