Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Linfield Ladies came into this game looking to secure the win that will ensure this season's Danske Bank Womens Premiership goes right down to wire.
Linfield got off to a positive start with Louise McFrederick continuing her goal scoring streak. The full back, up for a corner, rifled home through a crowded six yard box, after only four mins.
On 17 mins, Linfield doubled their lead. Kirsty McGuinness raced down the left wing before driving the ball across the box, where Marissa Callaghan sliced her clearance over the visiting keeper.
The 25th minute saw the start of a devastating three minutes midway through the half McGuinness finished well after great work down the right between Megan Bell and Chloe McCarron.
A minute later Amber Dempster laid off to McGuinness who fired into the top corner.
On 28 minutes Dempster beat the offside trap, to control Leonita McVarnock's pass and slotted home.
Cliftonville pulled one back on 38 minutes when Billie Simpson turned inside the Linfield half, advanced and let fly from 30 yards into the top corner.
A minute later, just after the restart Jennifer McDade launched the ball from the half way line into the Cliftonville box, with the ball skidding off the Rathmore surface and bouncing over the 'keepers head for Linfield's sixth of the night.
On 41 minutes McGuinness grabbed her hat trick, gathering the ball on the edge of the box before calmly chipping the Reds 'keeper.
The second half started brightly with more Linfield pressure. A cultured pass from Sarah Haddock, found the run of Dempster, who pulled her shot just wide of the far post.
Half time changes to the Cliftonville team saw the experienced Una Harkin come into the middle of the park and combining with Callaghan were posing Linfield problems.
Cliftonville enjoyed their best spell of the night and looked much more solid. This paid dividends on 57 minutes, with McDade off the pitch having crashed into the fencing Linfield hesitated and Cliftonville forward Eirinn Canavan pounced to slide home.
The game was very evenly balanced and a bit scrappy at this stage, however a touch of class by Ali Smyth, making her comeback after breaking her jaw against Crusaders, flicked on McDade's pass, which was collected by Megan Bell who drove into the box and neatly finished.
Linfield Ladies: Perry, Corry, Haddock, Venney, Bell, Dempster, McGuinness, McDade, McFrederick, McCarron, McVarnock subs Doyle (replaced McCarron 75), Smyth (replaced Dempster 65), Kilpatrick (not used), Rae (not used)
Cliftonville Ladies: C. Callaghan, McCarthy, Moran, Kelly, M. Callaghan, Simpson, Weatherall, Canavan, McEvoy, McAleese, Doherty subs O'Neill (not used), Harkin (replaced McAleese 46), Orr (replaced Doherty 46), White (not used), Service (replaced Weatherall 44)
Referee: Glenn McKinstry