Andrew Waterworth scored what proved to be Linfield's winner (©INPHO/William Cherry)
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Holders Linfield came within minutes of losing their grasp on the BetMcLean League Cup at the first hurdle away to Ballinamallard United.
The Mallards stunned their visitors by racing into the lead as early as the fourth minute through Ryan Campbell's hooked finish past keeper Gareth Deane.
It was a lead they held for half-an-hour until two goals in quick succession seemed to turn the tide in favour of Linfield.
Shayne Lavery levelled on 34 minutes with a header from Kirk Millar's corner before, just four minutes after that, Ryan McGivern edged David Healy's side in front from close range after Andrew Waterworth knocked on a Millar corner.
But back came the Mallards. Campbell grabbed his second of the game on 55 minutes with a close range header from John Edgar's flick to bring the sides together again before, with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, Callum Moorehead handed the Championship side the advantage again when he poked the ball over the line from Jay McCartney's left-sided cross.
However, just when it started to look like Harry McConkey's charges would record a famous win up popped substitute Daniel Reynolds to get the final touch to a scramble in front of goal to force extra-time.
In fact, it almost didn't come to that when Jimmy Callacher nodded against an upright moments later but, on 94 minutes, Linfield did find the net again in somewhat fortuitous circumstances when Mallards defender Ben McCann turned the ball into his own net whilst attempting to clear another Millar delivery.
Then, still in the first period of extra-time, Waterworth effectively settled the tie from yet another Millar cross, although the Mallards weren't finished and pulled one back in the closing moments through a great Sean McEvoy strike from the edge of the box.
Ultimately, though, it wasn't enough to prevent Linfield progressing to the next round and a trip to Stangmore Park to face Dungannon Swifts.
Ballinamallard United: Connolly, McCann, Taheny, Smyth, Robb, Clarke, Campbell, Warrington, Edgar, O'Reilly, Moorehead subs Thompson (not used), McEvoy (replaced Campbell 81), McIlwaine (replaced Clarke 92), McCartney (replaced Warrington 72), Kelly (not used), Cashel (replaced 65), Byrne (not used)
Linfield: Deane, Callacher, Waterworth, Cooper, Millar, Lavery, Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, McGivern, Hume subs Ferguson (not used), Larkin (not used), Shevlin (replaced Fallon 83), Mitchell (replaced Cooper 96), Reynolds (replaced Clarke 87), Quinn (replaced Hume 78), Corbett (not used)
Referee: Tony Clarke
|Andrew Waterworth||90 +4||97|