Linfield followed up their previous 2-0 home win against Crusaders with a similar result against Cliftonville, as Linfield bounced back from last week’s setback at the Oval.
The Women’s Premier League Champions flag flew at half mast at New Midgley Park on Wednesday, as Linfield and Cliftonville players observed a dignified minutes silence, prior to the Belfast Derby, in respect to the father of the Linfield chairman, Roy McGivern who passed away earlier in the day after a short illness.
Linfield were missing Victoria Carleton, Hayley O’Donnell and Alison Smyth, due to illness or injury and their enforced absence provided further opportunities for promising young and upcoming players.
The first half was an even and an end to end game, with defences largely on top and very few clear opportunities created by either side.
Half time - Linfield 0 Cliftonville 0
The game burst into life when Linfield took the lead after 54 minutes. Midfielder Cora Morgan picked up the ball in midfield and unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards into the roof of the net at the Olympia end of the ground.
Ashley Hutton replaced Mia Fitzsimmons after 62 minutes and the experienced international centre half doubled Linfield’s lead after 67 minutes.
A goalbound freekick from distance by Louise McFrederick was excellently pushed behind for a corner by the Reds keeper and from the resultant Casey Howe corner, Ashley Hutton bundled the ball home from close range.
Casey Howe came close to adding further goals but on both occasions her great strikes came back off the crossbar, the second after a great save from the keeper in pushing the ball onto the bar.
Casey was again denied a goal late on, in a one on one with the keeper who came off her line to smother the young Fermanagh girl’s strike on goal.
Linfield introduced 2 young debutantes - Katie Dickson replacing Ebony Leckey and then Ebony’s younger sister, Sienna replacing Cora Morgan.
Cliftonville were lively throughout and the Linfield rearguard had to be vigilant throughout, to contain the threat the visitors posed in this behind closed doors game, Louise McFrederick and Abbie Magee picked up yellow cards in a game in which Linfield keeper Nicole Adams gave another very assured performance in goal.
Player of the Match sponsored by Ronnie Morrison - Rebecca McKennna
Final score - Linfield 2 Cliftonville 0