Linfield eased past Ards to secure their place in the semi-finals of the County Antrim Shield with a 3-2 victory at Windsor Park..
The final scoreline suggests the game was tighter than it actually was.
Linfield were 3-0 up going into injury time, with Andy Mitchell and Craig McMillen scoring late consolation goals for Ards.
The Shield victory was Linfield’s fifth win on the trot, while Ards slumped to their fifth defeat in as many games.
The Blues opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Brian McCaul headed home a Niall Quinn corner.
Kyle McVey added a second in the 26th minute with a powerful header before Matthew Tipton completed the home side’s scoring with a scrappy goal.
Andrew Waterworth had the first chance of the match in the 12th minute when his turn and shot was tipped over the bar by Ards goalkeeper Simon Steele.
Steele was forced into action again in the 16th minute when he had to turn Quinn’s 20 yard free-kick over the bar with a smart one handed save.
Quinn used his left foot to great affect again, from the following corner.
The left-back whipped in a marvellous in-swinging corner the was headed home by an unmarked McCaul from inside the six yard box.
The goal stood despite Steele’s furious remonstrations with linesman Andrew Neeson – the former Carrick Rangers goalkeeper claiming he was bundled over before McCaul put the ball into the net.
Ards were undone by another corner-kick in the 26th minute when Quinn played they ball short to Jamie Mulgrew who crossed the ball for McVey to head home unopposed.
It was McVey’s first goal for Linfield since moving from Coleraine in the summer.
Ards had their best chance of the half when Mark McClelland flicked on an Andy Hunter cross, which Ryan Henderson put just over the bar with a spectacular free-kick.
The Blues eventually got their third in the 74th minute when McCaul’s shot deflected off striker Tipton, causing the ball to trundle underneath Steele and creep over the Ards goal.
Substitute Mitchell scored a late consolation goal for Ards in the 90th minute, tapping in from two yards after some good work by Neil Dougan.
McMillen scored a solo effort in injury time to add a veneer of respectability to the scoreline for Ards.
Linfield : Tuffey; BJ Burns, Ward, McVey, Quinn; Carvill (79 Brown), Knowles, Mulgrew, McCaul (79 Lowry); Tipton, Waterworth (63 Thompson)
Subs Not Used : M.Clarke, McAllister
Ards : Steele; Hall, Hunter, Gibson, McCullough; Smith (70 Gordon), Faulkner; Dougan, Henderson, Roy (58 McMillen) ; McClelland (58 Mitchell)
Subs Not Used : Spence, Davidson
Referee : Andrew Davey (Bangor)