Gers exit County Antrim Shield to Linfield

Linfield's Andrew Waterworth with Carrick's Conor McCloskey during Tuesday nights Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park. Photos: Presseye
Linfield's Andrew Waterworth with Carrick's Conor McCloskey during Tuesday nights Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park. Photos: Presseye
  • County Antrim Shield semi-final: Linfield 2 Carrick Rangers 0

Two second-half goals from Linfield sent Carrick Rangers out of this year’s County Antrim Shield at the semi-final stage.

Niall Quinn and Mark Stafford found the net as David Healy’s men secured their place in January’s final when they will meet Ballymena United.

Blues striker Andy Waterworth had a penalty saved by Gers stopper Brian Neeson during the first half.

Carrick started the game brightly and Miguel Chines showed off his exquisite first touch, bringing down Neeson’s long kick before curling an effort narrowly wide.

But just before the half-hour mark the excellent Paul Smyth was felled inside the box by Neeson. Up stepped Waterworth, only for Neeson to redeem himself by getting down low to his left to push the ball out for a corner.

Early in the second half Carrick’s Conor McCloskey fired over from 10 yards and then Adam Dick spurned a big chance when he fired wide from close range.

Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew with Carrick's Aaron Harmon.

Linfield's Jamie Mulgrew with Carrick's Aaron Harmon.

The Blues’ breakthrough came on 54 minutes when Man of the Match Smyth picked out Quinn who side-footed the ball into the bottom corner.

The hosts doubled their advantage 20 minutes later when poor defending from Carrick allowed Mark Stafford a free header from Quinn’s corner.

Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Stafford, Callacher, Waterworth, Millar (Frazer 85), Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew (Burns 85), Reece Glendinning, Quinn, Smyth. Subs not used: Deane, Haughey, Bates.

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, McCloskey, Kelly, Doyle (Kane 72), Traynor (Browne 77), Harmon, McNeill, Cherry, Chines, Roy, Dick (Surgenor 59). Subs not used: Johnston, Taggart.

Linfield's Andrew Waterworth has his penalty saved by Carrick's Brian Neeson during Tuesday night's Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park.

Linfield's Andrew Waterworth has his penalty saved by Carrick's Brian Neeson during Tuesday night's Toals County Antrim Shield semi-final at Windsor Park.