Linfield Scorers :
Joel Cooper 49', Chris Shields 59'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Daniel Finlayson, Jimmy Callacher, Sam Roscoe, Matthew Clarke, Chris Shields, Jamie Mulgrew ©, Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Eetu Vertainen (Kyle McClean 65’), Chris McKee (Ethan Devine 76’)
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh (GK), Conor Pepper, Ben Hall, Cammy Palmer, Andrew Clarke
Coleraine Team :
Gareth Deane (GK), Conor McDermott, Stephen O’Donnell, Kieran Farren (Michael McCrudden 74’), Dean Jarvis, Lyndon Kane, Josh Carson, Jamie Glackin, Lee Lynch (Jack O’Mahoney 70’), Conor McKendry (Aaron Jarvis 84’), Matthew Shevlin
Coleraine Subs not used :
Gallagher (GK), Adam Mullan, Rodney Brown, Stephen Lowry
Linfield this afternoon defeated Coleraine 2-0 at Windsor Park to win the Bet McLean Cup in front of 11,038 spectators courtesy of second half goals from Joel Cooper and Chris Shields.
The men in blue performed well in all areas of the pitch, as is always the requirement against a strong Coleraine team. Three of the four stands – namely the South, Kop and Railway ends of the ground – were filled with Linfield fans who outnumbered their opposition and David Healy’s men tried to take advantage of that with a positive start.
Blues wingers Kirk Millar and Joel Cooper both had joy against their opposite numbers in the early stages with both getting crosses into the box, but on both occasions former Linfield ‘keeper Gareth Deane intervened with steady handling. Joel Cooper was then first to threaten in the game with a good effort on seven minutes when he had time and space to shoot from 25 yards following a Linfield corner as his low strike whistled just wide of the far post.
After 15 minutes Coleraine started to come out and show more of an attacking threat, with Sam Roscoe making an important intervention as Lee Lynch attempted to square the ball to Matthew Shevlin at close range. Soon after, Bannsiders captain Stephen O’Donnell was unlucky with a good effort as he stooped to head a low corner delivery from Lynch, and the header landed on the roof of the net.
With their tails up, Coleraine’s good spell continued as Jamie Glackin whipped in a free-kick from wide left and it was met by Kieran Farren at the back post as he headed wide. Chris Johns was then forced into a good stop when he dived to push away a 20-yard strike from the Irish League’s top scorer, Matthew Shevlin.
Experienced duo Chris Shields and Jamie Mulgrew then re-established Linfield control on the match and Finnish forward Eetu Vertainen started getting into good areas. On one occasion, the ball fell for him on the edge of the box and his left-footed strike whistled past the post. He perhaps will feel disappointed not to have made more of an excellent Kirk Millar cross at the end of the first half when he got a slight touch with his head, but not enough to turn it goalwards.
Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Coleraine
Linfield made a strong start to the second half which ultimately set them on their way to winning the final. The Blues took the lead four minutes after the break when Jamie Mulgrew won the ball in midfield before slipping it to Chris McKee who then slotted a nice pass into Joel Cooper whose pace in the inside channel took him beyond Coleraine’s O’Donnell, and then it was a case of composure as the winger finished well into the far corner for his twelfth goal of the season.
Coleraine responded well and looked threatening in the following minutes, particularly through the lively Conor McKendry. He tried his luck with a sweet strike from distance after cutting in off the right and was unlucky to see it flash just past the far corner, and a few minutes later he showed good skill inside the box to make room for a wicked shot which Chris Johns pushed behind.
The Blues then doubled their lead on 59 minutes when the ball bounced behind Coleraine defender Stephen O’Donnell inside the box and he was seemingly unaware that Chris McKee was coming in from his blind-side. As O’Donnell swung to hook the ball away, McKee nipped in first which resulted in him being caught around the midriff, and referee Lee Tavinder pointed to the spot. Up stepped Chris Shields who sent the ‘keeper the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom left corner for his seventh goal of the season.
Linfield then lost Eetu Vertainen who pulled up with a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Kyle McClean as the Blues went to a 4-3-3 shape and went into game management mode.
The Blues were quite comfortable in seeing out their 2-0 lead and limited Coleraine to just one decent chance that came three minutes from time when Aaron Jarvis clipped in a good cross for Matthew Shevlin who uncharacteristically headed over from a good position in the middle.
Full Time: Linfield 2 – 0 Coleraine
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Chris McKee