Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Lavery 13’, 20’, 53’, Millar 27’, Newberry 31’, Palmer 72’, Stewart 73’
Linfield Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Michael Newberry (Navid Nasseri 68’), Mark Stafford, Jimmy Callacher, Niall Quinn, Jamie Mulgrew © (Matthew Clarke 63’), Cammy Palmer, Kirk Millar, Jordan Stewart, Joel Cooper, Shayne Lavery (Andy Waterworth 61’)
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore, Ryan McGivern, Conor Pepper, Joshua Archer
Carrick Rangers Team :
Geoffrey McKinty (GK), Kurtis Forsythe, Chris Rodgers, Reece Glendinning, Chris Ramsey ©, Steven Gordon, Reece Neale, Gerard Storey (Jordan Gibson 69’), Lloyd Anderson, Michael Smith (Jordan Jenkins 45’), Cathair Friel (Jack Millar 56’)
Carrick Rangers Subs not used :
Aaron Hogg (GK), Caolan Loughran, Lee Chapman, Kyle Cherry
Linfield this afternoon produced a result and performance very much befitting of the Club’s 135th anniversary weekend. They were utterly ruthless in a seven-goal demolition of Carrick Rangers to record their biggest win of the season.
After hitting the crossbar against Portadown a matter of weeks ago and being denied by a wonder save against Cliftonville last week, Mark Stafford must be wondering if he’s cursed in front of goal as he struck the woodwork against Carrick early on, getting a glancing head on Niall Quinn’s corner, only to see it strike the crossbar.
The early opener would soon come for Linfield and that’s been a theme in all four matches against Carrick so far this season. Cammy Palmer slipped the ball wide right to Kirk Millar who crossed delightfully as Shayne Lavery showed great movement to peel off his marker for a free header which he headed past Geoffrey McKinty from close range.
Unlike in the previous meeting between the sides last month in Carrickfergus, The Blues kicked on from their early opener and just seven minutes later scored a second. Joel Cooper got the ball in an area where no defender wants to see him with it, driving inside the box before going down from a tackle by young full-back Kurtis Forsythe and referee Ian McNabb pointed to the spot. The in-form Shayne Lavery took responsibility as he stepped up and fired the ball into the bottom left corner, sending Geoffrey McKinty the opposite direction.
After 27 minutes it was three-nil and it was a devastating counter-attacking goal. Cammy Palmer was once again the foundation of the move, slotting the ball into Kirk Millar on halfway and suddenly Linfield were two-on-two. Knowing the pace Lavery possesses, Millar slipped it forward for the striker to run on to and then the alert and unselfish Lavery slipped it back to Millar who had moved to the back post and when he received the ball again it was a straightforward finish into the far corner from close range.
And just four minutes later, ruthless Linfield added a fourth. Niall Quinn stood over a free-kick just outside the box in a wide right position before teeing up Jordan Stewart who moved for a pull-back before a scuffed effort which Michael Newberry retrieved inside the box and produced a driven finish into the corner which a striker would have been pleased with to bag his first Linfield goal.
In the last action of the half, Jordan Stewart went agonisingly close to what would have been a spectacular goal. He danced around on the edge of the box before opting to try and chip the goalkeeper, who wasn’t really off his line...but Stewart somehow chipped him with his left foot only to see it drop agonisingly past the post.
Half Time: Linfield 4 – 0 Carrick Rangers
The Blues picked up where they left off and didn’t drop their standards in the second half. Shayne Lavery completed his hat-trick eight minutes into the second half and it was another well-constructed Linfield move as Kirk Millar darted into space down the right and was picked out by a great Jimmy Callacher pass before supplying another pinpoint low cross into the path of Shayne Lavery who smashed the ball into the net off the underside of the bar from around 12 yards.
The striker was excellent and before he enjoyed a well-earned rest he threatened to score a fourth when Kirk Millar slipped a nice pass into him and Lavery hammered a strike at goal which was well beaten away by Geoffrey McKinty.
The Blues made it 6-0 as Cammy Palmer joined fellow January signing Michael Newberry by getting his first Linfield goal on what was his first start. Kirk Millar crossed for Jordan Stewart who turned well before smashing a shot off the cross bar but the ball came back out for Cammy Palmer who produced a good finish, driving a shot into the far corner from around 20 yards.
Just a minute later, Linfield scored their seventh and final goal of the game. Mark Stafford fed the ball down the right wing to the influential Kirk Millar who picked up his third assist of the day, putting in a low cross for Jordan Stewart who got across the near post before a shimmy around the goalkeeper and he dispatched the ball into the empty net from close range.
Substitute Andy Waterworth was disappointed he didn’t get in on the act whenever a cross from Joel Cooper came in from the left and Waterworth’s shot was cleared off the line by Carrick defender Chris Rodgers.
Full Time: Linfield 7 – 0 Carrick Rangers
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Shayne Lavery