Match Details
Season :
2021/2022
Date :
30th November 2021
Competition :
Irish Premier League
Venue :
Windsor Park
Referee :
Ross Dunlop
Linfield Scorers :
Chris Shields 80', Kirk Millar 90'
Carrick Rangers Yellow Card :
Kyle Cherry
Carrick Rangers Red Card :
Stuart King
Teams
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Trai Hume, Jimmy Callacher, Sam Roscoe, Matthew Clarke, Chris Shields, Stephen Fallon, Ahmed Salam, Martin Donnelly (Kyle McClean 70’), Kirk Millar (Adam Carroll 90’), Christy Manzinga (Callum Marshall 90’)
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh, Ross Larkin, Joshua Archer, Andrew Clarke
Carrick Rangers Team :
Aaron Hogg (GK), Kurtis Forsythe, Jim Ervin, Mark Surgenor, Ben Tilney, Reece Glendinning, Kyle Cherry, Lloyd Anderson, David Cushley (C), Alex Gawne, Jordan Gibson
Carrick Rangers Subs not used :
Neil Shields, Ronan Kalia, Ross McGimpsey, Matthew Mulholland, Bailey Hoy, Conor Quinn
Report
Linfield had to be patient to find a way past a staunch Carrick rearguard under the floodlights at a wet Windsor Park this evening but ultimately two late goals from Chris Shields and Kirk Millar clinched a 2-0 win which sends the Blues up to second in the Danske Bank Premiership, two points behind leaders Cliftonville with a game in hand over the Reds.

The Amber Army picked their moments to attack and they first came forward after ten minutes when veteran central defender Jim Ervin stepped in to make an interception before charging forward to lead a counter-attack, slipping the ball to Alex Gawne to his right who then picked out Ervin who’d continued his run all the way into the box but his low shot was comfortably saved by Chris Johns. It was like a throwback to Ervin’s Linfield days when he was a buccaneering right back.

Stephen Fallon was first to threaten for Linfield when a deflected Matthew Clarke cross following neat link-up with Ahmed Salam dropped for Fallon to hit on the volley from 20 yards but he was unlucky as it flashed wide of the top corner which was the only section of the net he had to aim at.

A Martin Donnelly corner fell nicely for Trai Hume to hit one on the volley but it was blocked in a crowded goalmouth.

Ervin was rescued by his defensive partner on 36 minutes when his loose backpass set up Linfield’s Martin Donnelly for a shot which was goalbound from 12 yards only for a great Mark Surgenor block.

It was a low-key first half where Linfield dominated the ball but didn’t do much with it. Carrick were happy for the Blues to have the ball in front of them and the visiting goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make in the half.

Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Carrick Rangers

The Blues started the second half much better and were very unlucky not to take the lead after 52 minutes when Ahmed Salam showed great dazzling feet to beat a couple of men in the box before squaring it to Christy Manzinga whose low shot was cleared off the line by young full-back Kurtis Forsythe.

A well-worked move spelled more danger for Carrick as Kirk Millar turned a great ball around the corner to allow Stephen Fallon to get a cross in from the right but it was slightly behind Martin Donnelly who couldn’t get it under control at close range and had he not got a touch at all it may well have been picking out the unmarked Ahmed Salam ghosting in at the back post.

Trai Hume had a good chance when Ahmed Salam delivered a dangerous corner and the defender will have been disappointed to have headed over the bar from six yards.

Carrick had a big opportunity to take the lead 15 minutes from time when Lloyd Anderson turned in behind and his shot was well saved into the side netting by Chris Johns. The Blues countered from the corner and Christy Manzinga got on the end of a long kick down the pitch by Chris Johns. With the opposing goalkeeper charging out, Christy attempted to lob the ‘keeper who was able to stop it and in hindsight the striker should have looked to play in one of the supporting cast free to his right on the edge of the box.

The French striker then saw his left-footed shot from the edge of the box deflected against the crossbar and Linfield’s eventual opener stemmed from that. The resulting corner from Salam was dealt with initially before it was recycled back out to Salam whose cross was then adjudged to have been handled by Kyle Cherry just inside the box. Chris Shields stepped up to take the penalty and he was as cool as ice as he tucked it away into the bottom left corner for his third goal of the season.

In the closing ten minutes Carrick put on some pressure in search of an equaliser and the formidable David Cushley threatened when he got on the end of a bouncing ball on the edge of the box, but luckily for Linfield it was on his weaker right side and it was deflected wide of the post. There was a heart-in-mouth moment late on when Trai Hume’s header back went past intended target Chris Johns who was able to scramble back and gather.

Kirk Millar put Linfield nerves at rest as he ensured a difficult task was negotiated with a clinching goal in the 90th minute. It was a well-worked counter-attacking goal with Matthew Clarke charging down the left before whipping in a cross for Kirk Millar to volley in with his left foot from 10 yards.

Full Time: Linfield 2 – 0 Carrick Rangers

LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Ahmed Salam

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