Linfield Scorers :
Stephen Fallon 5’, Jimmy Callacher 15’, Joel Cooper 58’, Andy Waterworth 78’
Dungannon Swifts Yellow Cards :
Linfield Team :
Gareth Deane (GK), Niall Quinn, Jimmy Callacher, Ryan McGivern, Matthew Clarke, Bastien Hery (Andrew Mitchell 50’), Stephen Fallon (Matthew Shevlin 73’), Jamie Mulgrew ©, Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Andy Waterworth (Charlie Allen 77’)
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore (GK), Ross Larkin, Daniel Reynolds
Dungannon Swifts Team :
Conner Byrne (GK), Caolin Coyle, Callum Byers, Dylan King, Seanan Clucas © (Ben Gallagher 73’), Oisin Smyth, Alan Teggart, Kris Lowe, Michael Carvill (Craig Taylor 81’), Sean Noble (Daniel Hughes 71’), Rhyss Campbell
League Cup holders Linfield safely booked their place in the Quarter-Finals with victory over Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park with a ruthless display.
Linfield were without young striker Shayne Lavery who was away to Rotterdam with the senior Northern Ireland international team for their Euro 2020 Qualifier against Netherlands. Chris Casement was also missing, although he was due to start before having to be withdrawn in a late change for Bastien Hery. Jordan Stewart and Daniel Kearns both missed out once again through injury, whilst Mark Stafford was rested.
Lavery’s replacement Andy Waterworth was first to go close. Niall Quinn slipped him in on the turn but he fired wide across goal. The breakthrough came less than a minute later, however, as midfielder Stephen Fallon put David Healy’s men in front with his first goal of the season, a 25 yard drive which flew beyond 16 year-old debutant goalkeeper Conner Byrne, who was a late change for regular goalkeeper Sam Johnston following his injury in the warm-up.
The Blues added a second goal ten minutes later from a well-worked set-piece. Kirk Millar’s low free-kick from out left found Ryan McGivern whose goalward effort was followed up and buried into the net by Jimmy Callacher at the back post.
Dungannon responded well to Linfield’s bright start by creating a few opportunities for themselves. Seanan Clucas was first to threaten for Kris Lindsay’s men with a brilliantly-struck strike from distance which whistled just wide of the top corner. Soon after, Deane was called into action twice in quick succession. Firstly, he showed good hands to deny Sean Noble after the striker cut inside with a low shot from an inside left position. Minutes later, Deane denied Kris Lowe who headed Michael Carvill’s pinpoint cross on target.
Niall Quinn almost added a third goal to a commanding first half display from Linfield when he met Kirk Millar’s deep cross to the back post but young goalkeeper Conner Byrne was well positioned to keep it out.
Half Time: Dungannon Swifts 0 – 2 Linfield
Linfield made it three, thirteen minutes into the half from another set-piece. Kirk Millar was once again the provider, this time from a corner which he whipped in with pace and Joel Cooper wriggled free to power home a free header from six yards out.
A fourth goal almost arrived some time later as Matthew Clarke put in a low cross by the face of goal and Niall Quinn was following up, only for Ally Teggart to throw his body on the line to make a brilliant block.
Linfield showed no let up and kept pushing for more goals. Conner Byrne produced a great outstretched save to push Fallon’s low strike around the post, then, moments later, Joel Cooper cut inside from the right and cracked a strong shot off the post. The winger also fired a volley agonisingly wide of the far post in search of his second goal of the night.
Andy Waterworth added his name to the scoresheet. He was picked out by Ryan McGivern’s pinpoint cross before bringing the ball down and firing a clinical shot into the far corner with his left foot. It was the striker’s last action before bring replaced by 15 year-old Charlie Allen.
Full Time: Dungannon Swifts 0 – 4 Linfield