Co Antrim Shield
Linfield Scorers :
Quinn 5’, 86’, Stewart 58’, 64’, Archer 73’, Shevlin 86’
Linfield Team :
Alex Moore (GK), Conor Pepper, Jimmy Callacher, Mark Haughey, Matthew Clarke (Jordan Stewart 54’), Jamie Mulgrew ©, Niall Quinn, Kirk Millar, Navid Nasseri (Matthew Shevlin 70’), Brandon Doyle (Joshua Archer 54’), Andy Waterworth
Linfield Subs not used :
Mark Stafford, Ryan McGivern, Ethan Boyle, Eamon Scannell
PSNI Team :
Ben Nicholl (GK), Mark Johnston, Nathan Riddle (Benjamin Campbell 70’), Adam Wilson, James Turk, Jonathan Wilson, Matthew Henry (Ryan Adair 79’), Kyle McCleery (Dylan Smiley 80’), Tony Tumelty ©, Aaron Cochrane, Jonathan Courtney
Linfield kicked-off the 2020/21 domestic season against PSNI in the Co. Antrim Shield first round at Windsor Park. For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Linfield welcomed a small number of supporters into the stadium, all socially distanced in the North Stand to see a clinical display and a night to remember for 17 year-old debutant Joshua Archer.
The night started in the best possible way for Linfield as they took the lead after just five minutes. Niall Quinn produced a stunning 25 yard free-kick which he whipped over the wall and into the top corner of the net past a helpless goalkeeper.
PSNI had a chance soon after as a long ball fell kindly for striker and captain Tony Tumelty, however, his shot despite being well hit was straight at Alex Moore in the Linfield goal. Up the other end, Navid Nasseri surged up the right hand side before firing a low shot past the far post from just inside the box.
PSNI goalkeeper Ben Nicholl produced something special to keep the score to 1-0. Kirk Millar picked out Matthew Clarke at the back post and he seemed to do everything right, with his guided header looking sure to hit the bottom corner of the net, only for the outstretched goalkeeper to push it around the post. A wonderful save.
Brandon Doyle will be disappointed not to have scored when he headed wide from inside the box from another pinpoint Kirk Millar delivery, while PSNI were disappointed to see their penalty appeal waved away when Aaron Cochrane thought he was fouled when he tried to pounce on a loose ball inside the Linfield box as Alex Moore came out on top. Cochrane’s appeal was that Moore had took his feet from under him while pouncing on the ball.
Half Time: Linfield 1 – 0 PSNI
After a lot of Linfield pressure early in the second half, the Blues got their second goal on 58 minutes. David Healy made a double substitution which paid off. On came Jordan Stewart who would score, and 17 year-old debutant Joshua Archer, a product of the Academy who looked so impressive in midfield. Stewart netted the second after being picked out by Kirk Millar’s neatly reversed pass and Stewart ventured towards the box, checked onto his left foot and found the far corner with a crisp strike, just four minutes after coming on.
Stewart then added his second and Linfield’s third just six minutes later. Striker Andy Waterworth dropped deeper to flick the ball intelligently into the path of the advancing Stewart and his pace took him beyond the PSNI backline before he slid a low shot beyond the goalkeeper from inside the box.
The impressive young debutant Joshua Archer made it a dream debut as he marked it with a goal, and what a goal it was too! The ball fell on the edge of the box for the midfielder and he needed no second invitation as he sent a rocket of a strike into the top corner. He couldn’t have placed it any better and it was no less than he deserved. The young lad deserves all the plaudits that come his way, because he looked so comfortable in an experienced team and didn’t lose the ball once.
Andy Waterworth is normally the man banging goals in but he provided another assist as Niall Quinn grabbed his second of the night. Waterworth’s cross from the left was super and the header equally as good as Quinn guided a looping header into the top corner for Linfield’s fifth.
Quinn was almost taking home the match ball for the first time as his fierce strike from distance looked set for the top corner, but Ben Nicholl produced another fine diving save.
The Blues added a sixth goal in the closing minutes through another substitute, Matthew Shevlin. A low cross was held up by Waterworth which allowed Shevlin to thunder home a strike from close range to round off the scoring.
Full Time: Linfield 6 – 0 PSNI