Season : 2022/2023
Date : 7th April 2023
Competition : Irish Premier League
Venue : Windsor Park
Referee : Shane Andrews
Linfield Yellow Card :
Crusaders Yellow Cards :
Philip Lowry, Daniel Larmour, Paul Heatley
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Daniel Finlayson (Andrew Clarke 88’), Jimmy Callacher, Sam Roscoe, Matthew Clarke (Stephen Fallon 70’), Chris Shields, Jamie Mulgrew © (Kyle McClean 19’), Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Ethan Devine (Eetu Vertainen 70’), Chris McKee
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh (GK), Max Haygarth, Rhys Annett
Crusaders Team :
Jonathan Tuffey (GK), Billy Joe Burns ©, Josh Robinson, Daniel Larmour, Jarlath O’Rourke, Robbie Weir (Gary Thompson 90'), Jude Winchester, Phillip Lowry, Jordan Forsythe (Chris Hegarty 80’), Paul Heatley (Jordan Owens 90'), Dean Ebbe (Adam Lecky 74’)
Crusaders Subs not used :
Tom Murphy (GK), Rory McKeown, Ross Clarke
Linfield’s hopes of retaining the Gibson Cup for the fifth year in a row took a major blow tonight as dropped points in a stalemate with Crusaders meant Larne extended their lead at the top to seven points with just four matches remaining.
The first half will not live long in the memory of the spectators. Linfield struggled to find their rhythm, though they could and probably should have taken the lead after nine minutes as Jimmy Callacher timed his run to perfection to meet Kirk Millar’s free-kick delivery from the left to the back post area, however Callacher couldn’t keep his header down, otherwise he probably would have scored.
Crusaders were the closest team to a first half goal when Chris Shields fouled the surging Billy Joe Burns which led to a free-kick 25 yards out which was struck cleanly by Jordan Forsythe who was unlucky to see his effort come back off the crossbar.
The Blues lost their captain Jamie Mulgrew early on in the match through injury sustained from a late tackle by Crusaders’ Phillip Lowry. Mulgrew tried to play on for several minutes in an attempt to shake it off, but ultimately it wasn’t feasible.
Other than that, it was a half of few talking points as Linfield struggled to find their passing game whilst Crusaders sat tightly behind the ball. Sam Roscoe headed wide from a Matthew Clarke corner early on, and later Chris McKee fired over after Jimmy Callacher headed an excellent Chris Shields cross back into the six-yard area.
Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Crusaders
The Blues had the ball in the net eleven minutes into the second half, but it was chalked off for offside. Ethan Devine was flagged to have been offside when he met Chris McKee’s loopy header across goal, Devine heading against the bar at close range before Kyle McClean tapped in the rebound, only to be denied.
Crusaders’ Dean Ebbe fired a low strike just wide of the bottom corner when Linfield stood off him for a 25-yard shot, and Jude Winchester also threatened with a shot from the edge of the box which was held by Chris Johns.
A good Crusaders move brought an opportunity for Paul Heatley as he was found by Billy Joe Burns who knocked the ball across for the winger, however his acrobatic overhead kick had too much elevation on it.
The woodwork then denied Linfield six minutes from time when Kirk Millar’s free-kick delivery from the left was met by Sam Roscoe whose header came back off the post with the ‘keeper beaten.
The three minutes of injury time were chaotic and Linfield thought they were about to nick all three points with seconds to spare when Chris McKee found Kirk Millar out right and he beat the full-back inside the box before his curling left-footed shot hit Jimmy Callacher in front of goal, with the defender in an offside position.
Crusaders then almost nicked it at the death when Linfield left the back door open in search of a winner and Adam Lecky turned inside the box before flashing a low left-footed shot right across the face of goal.
If Linfield’s championship reign is coming to an end, it remains important that they finish in the top two to guarantee European football for next season, therefore next Wednesday’s ‘Big Two’ derby is of huge importance.
Full Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Crusaders
Attendance – 3514
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Sam Roscoe