Co Antrim Shield
Linfield Scorer :
Ross Larkin 5'
Larne Scorers :
Donnelly 11', McDaid 27', 65', Herron 87'
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Linfield Red Card :
Stephen Fallon 11'
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Ethan Boyle, Ross Larkin, Ryan McGivern, Matthew Clarke, Stephen Fallon, Bastien Hery (Kyle McClean 45’), Niall Quinn, Daniel Kearns (Andy Waterworth 45’), Navid Nasseri (Jordan Stewart 65’), Shayne Lavery
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore, Mark Stafford, Brandon Doyle, Matthew Shevlin
Larne Team :
Conor Devlin (GK), Tomas Cosgrove, Albert Watson, Josh Robinson, Dean Jarvis, Faud Sule, Jeff Hughes (Andrew Mitchell 65’), Mark Randall (John Herron 65’), Martin Donnelly, Lee Lynch, David McDaid (Johnny McMurray 83’)
Despite taking an early lead and starting well, Linfield were eliminated from the County Antrim Shield at the semi-final stage as Stephen Fallon’s red card on 11 minutes proved to be a pivotal moment in the game.
The Blues threatened early on after a bright start. Niall Quinn hooked a ball into the channel for Shayne Lavery to chase and the striker’s pace took him beyond Josh Robinson but when he reached a shooting position in the box, he fired just wide.
Linfield then found an early breakthrough after five minutes. After Shayne Lavery was fouled out the left, Navid Nasseri whipped in a great free-kick delivery and Ross Larkin met it with a good header into the far corner.
A major point in the game came on 11 minutes. Stephen Fallon looked to turn out after receiving the ball on the edge of Linfield’s box from a goal kick and after slipping, the Larne striker nipped in and went to ground after appearing to slip, himself. Fallon was deemed to be the last man back and deemed to have fouled the striker which led to his dismissal, much to the Linfield players’ and staff’s outrage.
After such a bright start, things started to go south off the back of that one decision, which played a big part in the game, otherwise it would have been some game, eleven versus eleven. As soon as Linfield went a man down, they didn’t even have anything to hold on to, because a Larne attacker curled home an excellent strike from the resulting free-kick to level the game.
Larne then went ahead on 27 minutes. Ethan Boyle felt hard done by as he went to flick on a goal kick and collided with the Larne left back which left him on the deck while Larne countered and eventually the ball dropped for David McDaid to strike it into the corner from the edge of the box.
After the red card, Linfield focused on maintaining their shape and staying in the game. Matthew Clarke drew a good save from home goalkeeper Conor Devlin with a 25 yard strike but other than that, it was hard to force any openings with Larne in control.
Half Time: Larne 2 – 1 Linfield
David Healy made two changes at the break. Replacing Bastien Hery and Daniel Kearns with Kyle McClean and Andy Waterworth, his side went a bit more direct, and they looked fairly compact until Larne added a third on 65 minutes. The Blues will be disappointed with it as Mark Randall slotted it through the middle to David McDaid who released the ball left before the lobbed pass into the middle was there for him to score when he couldn’t have missed.
Ross Larkin almost grabbed his second of the night during a rare Linfield attempt at goal as he rose well to meet Jordan Stewart’s corner, only to see his powerful header well held by Conor Devlin.
Andy Waterworth also went close late on when he made a yard of space to meet a nice free-kick from Niall Quinn, but the striker headed just wide of the far post.
Any hope Linfield had left was ended in the closing minutes when John Herron made it 4-1 for Larne. The midfielder got free at a corner and headed the ball into the far corner which was another goal Linfield will have been disappointed with.
Full Time: Larne 4 – 1 Linfield