Match Details
Season :
2022/2023
Date :
16th September 2022
Competition :
Irish Premier League
Venue :
Seaview
Referee :
Lee Tavinder
Linfield Scorer :
Joel Cooper 47'
Crusaders Scorers :
Phillip Lowry 61', Jordan Forsythe 81'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Joel Cooper
Crusaders Yellow Card :
Paul Heatley
Teams
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Daniel Finlayson, Jimmy Callacher ©, Sam Roscoe, Matthew Clarke (Niall Quinn 84'), Kyle McClean (Eetu Vertainen 84'), Chris Shields, Stephen Fallon, Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Robbie McDaid (Ethan Devine 84')
Linfield Subs not used :
Walsh, Mulgrew, A.Clarke, McKee
Crusaders Team :
Jonathan Tuffey (GK), Billy Joe Burns, Chris Hegarty (Josh Robinson 45’ - Gary Thompson 90+8’), Daniel Larmour, Jarlath O'Rourke, Jude Winchester (Robbie Weir 87’), Phillip Lowry, Jordan Forsythe, Paul Heatley, Ross Clarke, Adam Lecky
Crusaders Subs not used :
Murphy, Owens, Snelgrove, McMurray
Report
Linfield tonight suffered their second league defeat of the season with a 2-1 loss to Crusaders under the lights of Seaview.

The Blues were strong and dominant in the first half but just lacked the killer touch in the final third. David Healy’s men had a penalty appeal turned down after nineteen minutes when Matthew Clarke challenged Crusaders winger Ross Clarke who was back defending in his own box. Linfield’s Matthew Clarke from a certain angle looked like he may have nicked in ahead of his opponent who was in the process of hooking the ball clear, but the referee adjudged that it was the Linfield defender who caught the winger and a free-kick out was given.

Linfield had two major opportunities in the first half. Firstly, a great counter-attack was started by Stephen Fallon who drove forward and then Chris Shields took over, finding Joel Cooper out the right. Cooper then threaded a neat ball left to Kirk Millar inside the box, and the winger seemed to attempt to curl the ball for the far corner, but he didn’t connect cleanly and it turned out to find Robbie McDaid, however the ball came at an awkward height for the forward for fired over.

McDaid then had a better chance when Stephen Fallon threaded him through in between two central defenders and his low left-footed strike was well saved by Crues goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey. It momentarily looked as though the ball might have been creeping in between the ‘keeper’s legs, but Tuffey did well to make a block with enough contact from his lower body to stop the ball.

Sam Roscoe also drew a good save from Tuffey when the defender met Joel Cooper's corner delivery, before a tantalising cross from Kirk Millar on the left whistled right across the face of goal with McDaid so close to a touch.

Half Time: Crusaders 0 - 0 Linfield

The Blues then found a deserved opener two minutes into the second half. It was great play by Stephen Fallon who carried the ball into the inside left channel that he seems to favour, before a glorious cross on the money for Joel Cooper to volley in from close range. Cooper arrived from a deep central position and the Crusaders defenders were unable to pick up his late run.

Unfortunately for Linfield, things went downhill from there. Crusaders responded brilliantly and applied intense pressure on the Blues who couldn’t seem to settle it down for some time. That pressure told on 61 minutes when the Blues didn’t deal with a corner delivery before Billy Joe Burns brought the ball down for a shot which miscued into the path of Phillip Lowry who typically and instinctively was on hand to poke home from close range.

The Blues just could not seem to respond to what was quite a contrast to their first half performance. They were no longer able to play through Crusaders who were now the team asserting pressure. The only real chance of note for the Blues in the last half-hour was a header from Jimmy Callacher when the defender met Kirk Millar’s corner delivery, but Crues ‘keeper Tuffey made an excellent save.

What proved to be the winning goal came in the 81st minute as Crusaders got their noses in front. Stephen Fallon was dispossessed and the Crues broke down the right through Billy Joe Burns who pulled the ball back to Jordan Forsythe who produced a clinical finish into the bottom left corner.

A good battle between two good teams unfortunately ended on a note of concern. Crusaders defender Josh Robinson – who replaced the injured Chris Hegarty at half-time – initially split his head open in a clash of heads with Robbie McDaid. After treatment, the defender was bandaged up and approved to play on with permission of the officials and medical staff. However, around fifteen minutes later, the defender tumble to the ground after heading the ball away. His aerial challenger, Ethan Devine, didn’t seem to make contact, so that sparked immediate concern. After eight minutes of attention from the medics of both teams, Robinson was stretchered off an into the ambulance. Josh will be very much in the thoughts of everyone at his former club, Linfield, and we wish him well.

Full Time: Crusaders 2 – 1 Linfield

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