13th September 2014
Linfield Scorer :
Linfield Team :
Tuffey, Richards, Callacher, Haughey, Lowry, Carvill (90+1’ Mulgrew), Burns, M. Clarke, Morrow (72’ Thompson), Sproule (87’ Millar), Clucas
Linfield Subs not used :
Ro. Glendinning, Quinn
Warrenpoint Town Team :
Marron, King, McViegh, Hughes, McCabe, Smith, Bagnall, Moan, O’Connor, Boyce, Devlin
Warrenpoint Town Subs not used :
Cowan, Gargan, Breen, Grant, Havern
Linfield returned to Windsor Park on a warm mid-September afternoon for their opening home fixture of the season; something that seems strange to be reporting in this day and age. The famous old ground certainly looked different and it felt strange to be watching proceedings from the vantage point of the North Stand. The Blues made a number of changes to the side who defeated Dungannon away 2 weeks ago. Sammy Morrow and Seanan Clucas earned their first starts.
Linfield certainly enjoyed much of the early possession, but the Warrenpoint defence looked well organised to repel the initial Linfield attacks away from the box. The Blues' best effort in the opening 15 minutes came from a speculative effort from Aaron Burns from around 30 yards. Burns' shot unfortunately went high and wide.
Warrenpoint were clearly out to frustrate Linfield as much as possible and make the best of what they could win from set pieces. In the 16th minute John Boyce clipped the supports holding up Tuffey’s net as he curled in a free kick from 25 yards out.
Linfield enjoyed their best spell of pressure in and around the 20 minute mark. Ivan Sproule did well to head back across goal a cross from the left. Warrenpoint could only half clear the ball and Lowry popped up to smash a shot back in towards Marron’s net. Unluckily for Linfield, Lowry’s effort was blocked by some last-gasp defending. Sproule was the danger man again 2 minutes later as Callacher fed him in on the right. Sproule whipped in a dangerous ball across the goal, which somehow evaded 3 Blue shirts, and was poked away by a lone Warrenpoint defender.
Michael Carvill’s footwork created a good opportunity for Aaron Burns in the 27th minute. Carvill skipped past his opponent and fed in Sproule who found Burns in the middle. Burns did well to control the ball, which was behind him, and was only denied after the ball was nicked off his feet by Darren King.
Linfield’s persistence and patience paid off in the 36th minute with Mark Haughey opening the Blues home account for the season. Ivan Sproule, who seemed to be at the centre of every Linfield attack, crossed in from the right and Haughey climbed well to guide a header past Marron into the left-hand side of the Warrenpoint net.
The remainder of the first half saw both sides battle for possession with Warrenpoint looking to work their way back into the match. Nevertheless, Linfield went into the break with a well-deserved and hard fought one nil lead.
Half Time: Linfield 1 – 0 Warrenpoint
Warrenpoint looked to have had words during the interval and they certainly showed a greater impetuous to push for a goal in the second period.
This new found ambition from the visitors left Linfield with opportunities to break from deep. Michael Carvill was a beneficiary of this in the 54th minute as he burst clear of the Warrenpoint defence. With the number 10 being held back, he steadied himself and fed in Matthew Clarke on the left, who saw his cross come shot ricochet behind for a Linfield corner.
The game seemed to die down in the 60th minute as Warrenpoint reverted to type and sat back. With the initiative taken on by Linfield, some neat passing between Burns, Carvill and Morrow almost resulted in a number of opportunities. Nevertheless, despite some skilful build up passing, the organised and deep Warrenpoint defence were able to avert any serious danger.
Despite the Blues looking relatively comfortable as the second half wore on, Warrenpoint fashioned their best chance of the game. Stephen McCabe played a neat one two on the edge of the Linfield area and was put clear through in the 74th minute. With only Tuffey to beat McCabe couldn’t keep his cool and Tuffey did well to make himself big and save with his forearm.
Linfield almost doubled their lead in the 80th minute, and what a great goal it would have been. Ivan Sproule produced a great cross after using his speed to burst past his marker. Unfortunately, Michael Carvill’s diving header took flight and sailed over Marron’s goal.
Linfield welcomed back Jamie Mulgrew to action in the final few minutes as he replaced Michael Carvill. All in all, a deserved victory for Linfield, with a few hairy moments from a determined Warrenpoint side.
Full Time: Linfield 1 – 0 Warrenpoint