Match Details
Season :
2022/2023
Date :
6th August 2022
Competition :
Charity Shield
Venue :
Windsor Park
Referee :
Christopher Morrison
Crusaders Scorers :
Paul Heatley 67', Rory McKeown 72'
Linfield Yellow Card :
J. Stewart
Crusaders Yellow Cards :
Robinson, BJ Burns
Teams
Linfield Team :
David Walsh (GK), Michael Newberry, Conor Pepper, Niall Quinn © (Chris Shields 22’), Kirk Millar, Cameron Palmer (Jamie Mulgrew 66’), Andrew Clarke (Matthew Clarke 68’), Jordan Stewart, Joel Cooper, Ethan Devine (Eetu Vertainen 68’), Chris McKee (Kyle McClean 68’)
Linfield Subs not used :
Chris Johns, Joshua Archer
Crusaders Team :
Jonathan Tuffey (GK), Billy Joe Burns (Jordan Forsythe 45'), Joshua Robinson (Chris Hegarty 88'), Daniel Larmour, Rory McKeown, Philip Lowry, Ben Kennedy, Robert Weir (Jude Winchester 45'), Dean Ebbe, Johnny McMurray (Paul Heatley 65'), Adam Lecky (Ross Clarke 57')
Report
For the second time in just 19 hours, Linfield were again in action at Windsor Park, this time in the Charity Shield. As league Champions, the Blues were up against the Irish Cup winners, Crusaders. Linfield boss David Healy – who celebrated his 43rd birthday in between the two matches – fulfilled his promise to name a strong team. Linfield Swifts’ involvement in the Steel and Sons Cup this afternoon meant he had little choice.

Whilst this match wasn’t going to make or break Linfield’s season, the Blues still wanted to win it. Another objective was to come through the match injury-free, which unfortunately didn’t happen as Niall Quinn picked up a knock early on. The full-back had to be replaced and will be frustrated as he’s had a strong pre-season off the back of a stop-start season hampered by injury last term.

The Linfield team, playing an attacking 3-5-2, was mostly made up of players who were either used or unused substitutes in Thursday’s Europa League Third Round Qualifying first leg defeat to FC Zurich. It was an open match which could have been high-scoring had the teams been more clinical.

The first clear-cut opportunity of the game fell Crusaders’ way midway through the first half. Attacker Dean Ebbe, operating off the right flank, clipped an excellent pinpoint cross over the last Linfield defender and into Johnny McMurray in the area, but the striker seemed to slip as he prepared to unleash a volley from close range.

The Crues had the better of the chances in the first half, with Phillip Lowry heading over Ben Kennedy’s free-kick delivery into a dangerous area. Kennedy himself had a decent opportunity when the ball was teed off to him in space 20 yards out but whilst his strike was clean, it lacked direction and was down David Walsh’s throat.

Linfield’s best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes was a free-kick from 20 yards after Jordan Stewart was fouled, but Kirk Millar fired over the bar on the keeper’s side of the goal. Ethan Devine also flashed a header wide, and Kirk Millar’s dangerous low cross was well grasped by Crues ‘keeper Tuffey on another occasion.

Half Time: Linfield 0-0 Crusaders

The beginning of the second half was frantic. Crusaders wondered how they weren’t ahead a few minutes in. Firstly, Phillip Lowry met another one of Ben Kennedy’s set-piece deliveries, but his header lacked direction after peeling off his marker. Soon after, Kennedy turned a deep cross back across goal for Dean Ebbe who tried a stylish backheel which flashed just wide of the post.

Up the other end, Andrew Clarke drove at a defender in the box before working the ball onto his right foot for a shot which the young Linfield midfielder curled towards the top corner, only for Tuffey to make a great fingertip save. The former Linfield ‘keeper also showed assured hands to save a low driven shot from Joel Cooper from just inside the box a short time later.

Twice in quick succession, Crusaders were unlucky not to score. Firstly, David Walsh came out on top as the 20 year-old Blues ‘keeper saved well with his feet to deny Jude Winchester on the stretch as he sprinted in behind to meet Ben Kennedy’s pinpoint threaded pass.

Then, soon after when Walsh was beaten, Chris Shields came to Linfield’s rescue. Crusaders’ Ross Clarke raced through on the counter-attack before a well-struck low shot past Walsh from inside the box, only for Shields get back and brilliantly block on the line.

Unfortunately for Linfield, they were then breached on 67 minutes. Just two minutes after coming on as a substitute, Crusaders star Paul Heatley made his mark. The winger showed impressive technique as he lofted the ball over David Walsh from just inside the Linfield box.

Heatley then inflicted further damage on Linfield five minutes later. He was found in a central area and he pulled off a few shimmies which gave time for support to arrive as it became a 2v2 scenario, and he had the aware to then square the ball to Rory McKeown to tap in a second goal for Crusaders.

Full Time: Linfield 0 – 2 Crusaders

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