Linfield Scorers :
Andy Waterworth 52', Shayne Lavery 84'
Annagh United Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Conor Pepper, Jimmy Callacher (C), Michael Newberry, Niall Quinn, Jamie Mulgrew ©, Navid Nasseri (Jordan Stewart 66’), Joel Cooper (Cammy Palmer 78’), Kirk Millar, Andy Waterworth, Christy Manzinga (Shayne Lavery 66’)
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore (GK), Mark Haughey, Matthew Clarke, Stephen Fallon
Annagh United Team :
Eoin Hughes (GK), Owen McConville, Lee Upton, Stephen Acheson, Dermot McCaffrey, Niall Henderson (C), Ethan Jordan (Jackson Holmes 45'), Ruairi McDonald, James McCormack, Craig Taylor (Christian Stewart 90'), Peter Duffin
Annagh United Subs not used :
Ben Eagle, Gerard Kerr, Jordan Campbell, Ryan Woods, James McCullins,Andrew Gordan, Scott McCordick
Linfield were not at their best tonight but they got the job done thanks to goals from star strikers Andy Waterworth and Shayne Lavery to avoid a Cup upset against Annagh United of the Championship.
The Blues were flat in the first half and were frustrated despite dominating the ball. Ciaran McGurgan had his team well set up and they allowed no runners to get in behind. The closest Linfield came in the first half was early on after a nice change of pace from Christy Manzinga out left to burst into the box before his low strike from a tight angle was saved by the feet of visiting goalkeeper Eoin Hughes.
Manzinga was unlucky when he was picked out by Kirk Millar’s pull-back but the striker’s shot was importantly blocked yards from goal by defender Lee Upton. Kirk Millar also threatened when he fired a low strike past the far post, as did Navid Nasseri.
Annagh Unted almost took a shock lead against the odds when Craig Taylor hurled in a long throw and big defender Stephen Acheson got his head to it, drawing a good reflex save from Chris Johns. Striker Peter Duffin also threatened following a great first touch and turn, firing a 25 yard strike wide.
Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Annagh United
The hosts threatened again from a long throw just inside the second half of the match. The long throws were a dangerous weapon for the hosts and this time it was Ruairi McDonald who threatened after Chris Johns was able to gather. The midfielder’s clever backheel went beyond Johns but Jimmy Callacher was covering to clear.
The Blues made the breakthrough seven minutes after the half-time interval, making the visitors pay for a rare slip-up. The ball was given away in the left back area, straight to Kirk Millar who raced up the wing before pulling the ball back to Andy Waterworth who fired into the far corner.
Navid Nasseri had a golden opportunity to give The Blues some comfort soon after when the ball fell kindly for him to turn the burners on and race through on goal, but his low shot was kept out by a good stop by the outstretched leg of Eoin Hughes.
The goalkeeper made another good save to deny Linfield when Shayne Lavery raced down the wing before squaring the ball to Waterworth but Hughes was courageous to make a close range block.
A well-worked move wrapped up the win for Linfield to ease any nerves. Conor Pepper slipped the ball into the surging run of substitute Cammy Palmer who showed good composure to tee up Shayne Lavery in the middle and the Northern Ireland International converted from close range for his 23rd goal of the season.
Lavery’s raw pace off the bench was a nightmare for Annagh and the striker will be disappointed not to have added to his goal tally having gone through on goal twice in the closing stages but he fired over and on another occasion into the side netting. He was also unlucky when he ran from deep before seeing his low shot deflected against the post.
In summary, it’s job done for Linfield although they are capable of much stronger performances and they await the draw which takes place this Saturday ahead of the next round. The visitors can be very proud of their performance tonight, both in terms of organisation and fitness, given they haven’t played competitive football since the pandemic struck. It was also admirable how they looked to move the ball around when they got on it, rather than pumping it long, and no doubt it was a proud night for Annagh United FC.
Full Time: Linfield 2 – 0 Annagh United