Larne fall to late goal in Windsor defeat

Nov 23, 2022 | First Team

A Michael Newberry header in the final 15 minutes clinched victory for Linfield in a tight game at Windsor Park.

Larne enjoyed the best of it in the first half, but were unable to turn possession into goals as the Invermen fell to just their second defeat of the season.

Tiernan Lynch’s men still lead the table by five points over Cliftonville in what is now a congested top four as the title race hots up coming into the Christmas period.

The previous meeting between the two sides came exactly a month earlier, when Larne ran out 4-2 winners during Linfield’s difficult start to the season.

Larne made a bright start in this one and could have taken the lead with six minutes gone.

From a Mark Randall corner on the left the ball made its way to the back post with Paul O’Neill stabbing the ball goalwards but it lack the pace to break the deadlock and it was cleared to safety.

Ten minutes later Larne threatened once more. This time Randall helped to create the opportunity from open play when a silky turn in the middle of the park opened up space for O’Neill. He unleashed a fierce drive from 25 yards which Johns did well to turn over.

Despite the early chances the first half wasn’t littered with clearcut goalscoring opportunities.

Larne looked the more polished of the two sides but will be disappointed they didn’t test Johns more often.

The closest they came was midway through the half when Lee Bonis led a break down the left, and stung the goalkeeper’s palms when he may have had more time to cut inside.

Linfield began the second period with a lot more purpose and took the game to their visitors more in the opening 10 minutes of the second half they had done for the whole of the first.

However, all the Healy’s men had to show for their renewed efforts was a series of corners which Larne eventually cleared to safety.

With 58 minutes the home side had their most clearcut chance of the night, when a corner was cleared only as far substitute Stephen Fallon who crossed it back into the box for Daniel Finlayson to crash his head off the crossbar, with Sam Roscoe missing the rebound on the full stretch.

Two minutes later Larne regain their composure, with Lee Bonis helping space open up for Ben Doherty 20 yards out and his shot was well turned wide by Johns.

The deadlock was broken with 13 minutes on the clock, coming from what always looked like Linfield’s most likely source.

Wide on the right referee Ross Dunlop awarded the home side a free-kick which Kirk Millar swung into the back post with substitute Michael Newberry heading home to give Linfield a a precious lead.

Linfield: Johns, Roscoe, Shields, Callacher, Millar, McClean (’51 Fallon), McDaid, M Clarke, McKee (’63 Devine), Finlayson (’63 Newberry), Mulgrew

Unused subs: Walsh, Vertainen, Pepper, McStravick

Larne: Ferguson, Want, Randall , O’Neill (’73 Kearns), Bonis, Doherty, Donnelly, Gordon (’73 Sule), Bolger, Millar, Cosgrove

Unused subs: McIntyre, Kelly, Scott, Hughes, Sloan

Referee: Ross Dunlop

Photo: Presseye

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