14th November 2020
Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Andy Waterworth 31', Jordan Stewart 47'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Pepper & Stewart
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Conor Pepper, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke, Stephen Fallon (Ryan McGivern 83’), Kyle McClean, Niall Quinn, Kirk Millar, Jordan Stewart, Andy Waterworth (Christy Manzinga 90’)
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh (GK), Daniel Kearns, Navid Nasseri, Brandon Doyle, Matthew Shevlin
Coleraine Team :
Gareth Deane (GK), Lyndon Kane, Steven Douglas, Stephen O’Donnell, Josh Carson, Stuart Nixon (Curtis Allen 56’), Aaron Jarvis (Ian Parkhill 63’), Stephen Lowry, Ben Doherty, Jamie Glackin, Eoin Bradley (Ronan Wilson 75’)
Linfield made it five wins from their first five league fixtures as David Healy’s men emerged victorious in Coleraine with a first win at The Showgrounds since April 2017.
In Linfield’s only change from last week’s 2-1 win over Portadown, Stephen Fallon returned from suspension to replace captain Jamie Mulgrew who wasn’t fit for selection, due to a recurring injury which has troubled him since a game in Ballymena three weeks ago. Christy Manzinga returned from an injury sustained in a pre-season match at Ballyclare as the Frenchman was named on the bench. Bastien Hery was out due to international duty with Madagascar who are in the middle of a double header with Ivory Coast. Ross Larkin and Shayne Lavery also missed out due to international duty, with both travelling with Northern Ireland U21s to their upcoming Euro 2021 qualifier against Ukraine in Kovalivka.
The Blues started strongly and had a series of corners which Coleraine were able to deal with despite Niall Quinn’s tempting deliveries. A great team move saw Kyle McClean ping a great pass out to Kirk Millar who slipped it to the overlapping run of Jordan Stewart and his low cross was just slightly beyond Waterworth. Another great sweeping move soon after saw Gareth Deane out sharply to deny Kirk Millar a chance to finish what would have been a superb team goal.
Andy Waterworth scuffed a decent chance from the edge of the box and Niall Quinn also threatened after being found by Jordan Stewart who flicked a ball over a defender’s head on halfway and spread it intelligently. Quinn took a shot on early from 25 yards but it was held by Gareth Deane.
The Blues did get the breakthrough goal they deserved on 31 minutes. The excellent Niall Quinn will receive great credit for his part in it as Lyndon Kane’s clearance struck him and the left sided midfielder showed intelligence to swivel and hammer a low cross by the face of goal for Andy Waterworth who quite typically was on hand to drill home.
Those two combined a short time later as Niall Quinn put in another great delivery and Waterworth produced a fine header, only to see it ruled out for offside just before the break. Linfield fully deserved their half-time lead and Chris Johns had a comfortable opening 45 minutes thanks to his back four winning their battles.
Half Time: Coleraine 0 – 1 Linfield
Coleraine started the second half with much more intensity than they’d showed in the opening 45 and had a chance 45 seconds into the half. Jamie Glackin’s hopeful cross found its way through to Ben Doherty at the back post and his shot on his weaker right foot was well saved by Johns down to his right.
The Bannsiders were made to pay for their missed opportunity as Linfield netted a second a minute later. Mark Haughey dropped a long ball over the shoulder of defender Stephen O’Donnell and Jordan Stewart beat him to it, fended him off, cut inside and fired a left footed shot low in the far corner.
Coleraine then had a massive chance to get themselves a goal back shortly after and it was almost identical to the previous missed chance a short time earlier. This time it was Eoin Bradley’s deflected cross which found its way through to Ben Doherty who was again free at the back post, but again on his weaker right foot he couldn’t take advantage, this time firing well over the bar.
Coleraine moved to a diamond midfield, sticking Curtis Allen up front and dropping Jamie Glackin into midfield to play in behind Allen and Eoin Bradley. The Bannsiders put pressure on but couldn't find a way through. On 75 minutes they reverted to a 4-4-1-1 as Bradley went off injured, but credit to Mark Haughey and Jimmy Callacher, as the experienced striker was kept quiet this afternoon.
In the space of two minutes, Stephen Fallon almost made it three on two separate occasions. Firstly, he broke into the box and burst his way through for a shot from close range but Gareth Deane did well to narrow the angle and make a good block. Soon after, Deane denied former teammate Fallon again with a diving save to beat away a 25 yard strike which was well hit after breaking onto a loose ball in midfield.
Linfield manager David Healy changed to a back five in the closing 10 minutes as defender Ryan McGivern came on for Stephen Fallon. Coleraine searched, huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way through and will regret those two missed chances from Doherty after the break. A fully deserved win for a hungry Linfield.
Full Time: Coleraine 0 – 2 Linfield