Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Christy Manzinga 25', 34', Sam Roscoe 29', Martin Donnelly 36'
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Michael Newberry, Sam Roscoe, Jimmy Callacher ©, Matthew Clarke (Niall Quinn 74’), Stephen Fallon (Ahmed Salam 74’), Chris Shields, Martin Donnelly (Billy Chadwick 67’), Jordan Stewart (Matt Green 67’), Kirk Millar, Christy Manzinga (Ahmed Salam 74’)
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh, Ross Larkin
Carrick Rangers Team :
Neil Shields (GK), Kurtis Forsythe, Jim Ervin, Mark Surgenor ©, Ben Tilney, Ewan Kelly (Ronan Kalla 74’), Kyle Cherry (Ross McGimpsey 90’), Reece Glendinning (Daniel Kelly 62’), Alex Gawne (Jonathan Doyle 90’), Lloyd Anderson, Jordan Gibson (Emmett McGuckin 74’)
Christy Manzinga returned from his three-match suspension with a bang as he netted a brace in a 15 minute four-goal blitz in the first half of Linfield’s league win over Carrick Rangers this afternoon.
It was a slow burner initially with few chances in the opening 20 minutes as Carrick Rangers closed the spaces well and got men behind the ball when needed, whilst possessing a great work ethic.
It had been a very competitive opening 25 minutes but once Linfield went ahead it started to unravel for Carrick. On his first start since seeing red against Glenavon a fortnight ago Christy Manzinga put the Blues ahead with what was their first real chance of the game. The Blues had a free-kick in a central position around 30 yards out and Kirk Millar’s ball was excellent, with a run and header to match as Christy Manzinga powered a header into the top corner.
Then, like buses, a second goal came along minutes later. Again it was another great delivery and header to match. This time it was a corner delivery whipped in invitingly by the left foot of Martin Donnelly and Sam Roscoe met it in the middle with a bullet header to make it 2-0 with his second goal for the club, having netted his first in Europe in a match in Luxembourg. The defender got his chance after Michael Newberry was shuffled across to right back to cover for Trai Hume who – along with Cameron Palmer – was in Russia on international duty with the Northern Ireland U21 squad.
Ruthless Linfield added a third goal on 34 minutes. Michael Newberry displayed his good technical ability when he burst down the right wing in behind the full-back into space. Newberry’s cross was on the money for Christy who was in line and after being initially denied at close range by a great save by Neil Shields in the Carrick goal, Manzinga followed up to hammer in his second of the day and his ninth of the season.
The Blues scored a fourth goal within a 15 minute spell and it was a great team move. Chris Shields played a great pass out left to Martin Donnelly who played it one more along the line to Jordan Stewart, who then slipped it into Kirk Millar in the box. Millar tried to pick out Manzinga in the middle with a low cross but the ball was deflected back out to Martin Donnelly who’d continued his run to the edge of the box and he hammered in with his right foot for his second goal in a week and his first league goal for Linfield.
Half Time: Linfield 4 – 0 Carrick Rangers
Having taken all four chances in the first half, Linfield effectively had the game won by half time. The Blues weren’t at their slick best in the second half but still remained in control, although it was a low-key second half. Christy Manzinga went in search of a first Linfield hat-trick when Kirk Millar clipped a cross up to the back post but the striker’s ambitious attempt at a spectacular bicycle kick didn’t work out as it was well defended.
Carrick’s only real chance came through lively left back Ben Tilney who managed to get a shot away inside the box but his low strike was comfortable enough for Chris Johns to gather.
Ahmed Salam’s eyes lit up when he saw Chris Shields play a ball down the right wing to Kirk Millar as Hull City loanee Salam had a march on his man at the back post, but when the cross came in it was deflected and didn’t sit kindly for the Egyptian who’s searching for a first Linfield goal.
In one final chance to add a fifth goal, Hull City loanees Ahmed Salam and Billy Chadwick combined as the former backheeled the ball nicely into Chadwick’s path and the striker hit one from 25 yards which was palmed out by the goalkeeper.
Full Time: Linfield 4 – 0 Carrick Rangers
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Chris Shields