15th November 2022
Co Antrim Shield
Linfield Scorers :
Andrew Clarke 27', Chris Shields 67' penalty
Glentoran Scorer :
James Singleton 64'
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Sam Roscoe, Conor Pepper, Cameron Palmer and George McCartney
Linfield Team :
David Walsh (GK), Conor Pepper, Michael Newberry, Sam Roscoe, Matthew Clarke ©, Chris Shields, Kyle McClean, Kirk Millar (Daniel Finlayson 87’), Andrew Clarke, Robbie McDaid (Cameron Palmer 79’), Chris McKee (Ethan Devine 84')
Linfield Subs not used :
Chris Johns (GK), Jamie Mulgrew, Liam McStravick, Eetu Vertainen
Glentoran Team :
Oliver Webber (GK), Rhys Marshall, Aidan Wilson, Luke McCullough, Marcus Kane ©, Bobby Burns, James Singleton, Hrvoje Plum, Terry Devlin, Shay McCartan (Rory Donnelly 45’), Danny Purkis (Jay Donnelly 45’)
Glentoran Subs not used :
Aaron McCarey (GK), Malachy Smith
Linfield tonight set up a January repeat of last year’s County Antrim Shield final against Larne, as the Blues defeated ‘Big Two’ rivals Glentoran in the semi-final under the lights of Windsor Park.
David Healy made six changes to the team which beat Glenavon 2-1 at Windsor Park last weekend, and the Blues were up for the fight from the start. Despite that, Glentoran were first to threaten on the night when a Danny Purkis header came back off the crossbar from Hrvoje Plum’s corner delivery on four minutes. The Glens kept the attack alive after the ball struck the ball, with the ball hooked back in but defender Aidan Wilson could only head straight at David Walsh from ten yards.
Glentoran’s Shay McCartan also tested the Linfield ‘keeper after picking up the ball in a pocket of space and his left-footed strike from 20 yards was beaten away by the diving Walsh.
The Blues then had a strong spell where Chris McKee and Kirk Millar has goalbound shots blocked at close range, and a Kyle McClean cross was just slightly beyond the reach of the outstretched Andrew Clarke.
Linfield then broke the deadlock on 27 minutes with a wonderfully-worked goal from back to front. An all-round masterful display by the impressive Sam Roscoe was typified when he stepped out with the ball to beat the Glentoran press before fizzing the ball into the feet of Chris McKee who brilliantly flicked the ball into the feet of Andrew Clarke who took a stride forward before firing a clinical strike low into the bottom left corner from 20 yards for what was his fifth goal of the season, continuing his rapid rise of progression in senior football.
Glentoran almost responded before half-time when wing-back Rhys Marshall stormed up the right and into the box before drilling his shot the wrong side of the post, into the side netting.
Half Time: Linfield 1 – 0 Glentoran
The Glens had a good chance two minutes into the second half, but they weren’t able to grasp it. Linfield were unable to fully clear a corner and the ball fell kindly for half-time substitute Jay Donnelly, but the Glentoran fired over the bar with a swing of the left foot. His brother, Rory Donnelly threatened shortly after with a scissor-kick volley into the roof of the net.
One of numerous excellent attacking patterns of play from Linfield saw the Blues almost double their lead. Chris Shields swept the ball out wide right to Kirk Millar who touched the ball down for the inward Conor Pepper to swing in a cross from which Robbie McDaid headed just wide of the post.
Mick McDermott’s men then drew level on 64 minutes when a corner kick delivered by Croatian midfielder Hrvoje Plum was headed into the net by James Singleton.
The Blues responded brilliantly, on the front foot and winning a penalty within two minutes of the equaliser. Kirk Millar swung in a cross from the right and Robbie McDaid was wiped out whilst trying to get on the end of it. The referee pointed to the spot and the ‘Man of the Match’ Chris Shields stepped up, sweeping the ball into the bottom left corner as the goalkeeper dived the opposite way.
With Linfield back in the lead, David Healy and his team managed the remaining 25 minutes well. The Blues were proactive, remaining positive and getting at the Glens when possible and as Glentoran pushed late on, Linfield looked dangerous on the break.
The only time Glentoran were relatively close to responding was 14 minutes from time when Rory Donnelly met Bobby Burns’ inswinging cross from the right, but young Linfield ‘keeper David Walsh read it to push the ball around his post.
The 2,300 Linfield supporters in attendance on this cold Tuesday night will have been delighted with their team’s performance and result, meanwhile the 1,700 travelling Glenmen will hope for revenge when the teams meet in the League Cup semi-final at The Oval on Tuesday 6 December.
The County Antrim Shield final between Linfield and Larne will take place on Tuesday 17 January 2023, with the venue and ticketing information to be confirmed in due course.
Full Time: Linfield 2 – 1 Glentoran
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Chris Shields