Kyle McClean Steals The Show As Linfield Defeat Glentoran To Reach Irish Cup final

Kyle McClean Steals The Show As Linfield Defeat Glentoran To Reach Irish Cup final
Kyle McClean Steals The Show As Linfield Defeat Glentoran To Reach Irish Cup final

Glentoran 1-3 Linfield

Junior, 81            Cooper, 33

McClean,  52, 84

Linfield midfielder Kyle McClean scored two vital goals as Linfield secured a place in May’s Irish Cup final with victory over their bitter rivals Glentoran.

As all good derby matches do, the game started at an electric pace with a number of ferocious tackles being made by both teams.

Linfield had the first major chance eight minutes into the game when Joshua Archer fired a ball across goal in the direction of Kirk Miller who just couldn’t connect with the ball to send it goalwards.

In the minutes following that opportunity, Fitzpatrick headed over the bar for Linfield from a Miller corner and Niall McGinn saw a tame shot deflected wide for Glentoran.

Then, the best opportunity of the first half hour, fell to Glentoran in the 25th minute when Shay McCartan floated a free kick into the Linfield area that Aidan Wilson headed across goal towards James Singleton who headed wide from close range when it seemed harder to miss than score.

The turning point of the game arrived in 33rd minute when Joel Cooper fired Linfield in front when he capitalised from a poor clearance from Glentoran’s James Singleton to fire a powerful shot that nestled into the bottom left corner of the Glentoran net.

That strike separated both sides at the interval and the second half started, just as the first had, with high intensity from both sides.

Linfield took the game by the scruff of the neck in the 52nd minute when they doubled their lead via a Kyle McClean volley. The midfielder fired home following a Kirk Miller free kick that was met by a Daniel Finlayson header that was parried by Aaron McCarey into the path of the oncoming McClean.

Following the second goal, Declan Devine introduced Junior and Rhys Marshall from the bench to try and turn the tide of momentum in the game.

The changes certainly improved things for them and they came so close to getting a goal back in the 73rd minute when Shay McCartan saw an audacious effort from twenty-five yards out crash off the right post of Christopher Johns’ goal.

The Glens did manage to pull one back and through Junior in the 81st minute who got himself on the end of an inviting cross from Paddy McClean.

However, any hope of a comeback was soon extinguished by a third Linfield goal scored by Kyle McClean, his second of the evening, in the 84th minute. This strike was the goal of the evening at The Oval as the Linfield man controlled the ball at the edge of the Glentoran box before hammering home a driven effort into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Victory for Linfield secures them a place in May’s Irish Cup final where they will face Larne or Cliftonville.

WFi player of the match: Kyle McClean (Linfield) – the Blues midfielder scored two fantastic goals and showcased why he is one of the best players in Northern Irish club football.

Glentoran: McCarey, McCullough, Wilson, McClean, Singleton, Burns (Marshall, 58), O’Connor, Sule, McCartan, McGinn (Junior, 58), Donnelly.

Substitutes: Webber, Marshall, Donnelly, Clucas, Murphy, McLaughlin, McToal.