BALLYCLARE COMRADES 1 LINFIELD 0
Chris Trussell last night grabbed the crucial goal that caused the biggest shock in round two of the Wasp Solutions League Cup!
The big 23 year old struck early in the second half to dump star-studded Linfield out of the competition -- inflicting the first defeat on Blues new boss Warren Feeney.
It was no more than the Championship One side deserved. After absorbing a serious amount of pressure over the first 30 minutes, once they got a grip on the game, they caused big problems for the Blues back line, with that man Trussell the chief culprit.
Feeney made eight changes to the team that battled out a disappointing draw at Institute on Saturday, with Jamie Richards, Chris Hegarty and Mark Haughey the only survivors. He also handed a debut to midfielder pair, TJ Murray and Paul McElroy.
Michael Carvill missed an early chance for the Blues when he had the ball knocked off his toe by the alert Andrew Doyle, when he looked a certain scorer.
And, from Ross Clarke’s resulting corner kick, Rodney Brown fired a spectacular scissors kick over the crossbar.
Former Rangers man Hegarty missed a great chance on 22 minutes when Clarke whipped in another dangerous corner kick, but the big man shamefully blazed the ball yards over the top.
The Comrades upped the tempo after soaking up the pressure and a lightning break from Adam Gray on 35 minutes opened up the Blues defence before sending Trussell clear on the right, but his cross was easily picked up by goalkeeper Ross Glendinnning.
They missed a glorious chance five minutes before the interval when Kyle Agnew picked out the unmarked Trussell, but with only Glendinning to beat, he blasted his shot high and wide.
Then seconds later, Johnny McClurg threaded in a great pass to Agnew, but Glendinning managed to block with his legs -- another let-off for the Blues.
Trussell struck the crucial winner on 54 minutes. He was picked out back a magnificent pass pass from McClurg and, after out-pacing Haughey, he blasted a beauty past a startled Glendinning.
Gary Brown almost added another for the Comrades on 75 minutes after a neat inter-change with Trussell, but his shot ripped past the post.
With the clock ticking down, Hegarty brought the save of the night from Comrades goalkeeper Paddy Flood who managed to get his hands to a stinging drive from the big defender.
Ballyclare Comrades: Flood, Doherty, Buckley, McClurg, Doyle, Getty, Brown (Smith 76), McGowan (McIlveen 68), Trussell, Agnew, Gray.
Subs: Gage, Simms, Simpson.
Linfield: Glendinning, Quinn, Richards, Hegarty, Haughey, Clarke (Millar 65), Murray, Brown (Feeney 63), Carvill, McElroy, Clucas (Callacher 77).
Subs: Patton, Deane.
Referee: I McNabb (Newtownabbey).
Meanwhile, Linfield striker Peter Thompson has been ruled out of action for six weeks.
The former Northern Ireland added to new manager Warren Feeney’s grown casualty list after breaking a bone in his hand during the weekend game at Institute.
Thompson, who scored his team’s equaliser in the opening Big Two game of the season against Glentoran a few weeks back, joins Andy Waterworth, Sean Ward and Sammy Morrow in the queue for the treatment room.
WARRENTPOINT TOWN 1 H&W WELDERS 2
Gareth McCullough at Milltown
Championship 1 leaders Harland & Wolff Welders claimed the Premiership scalp of Warrenpoint Town with a hard fought and well deserved win at Milltown last night.
All the goals came in the first half with Mark Armstrong’s double being enough for Gary Smyth’s men to progress to the next round of the competition.
The East Belfast side took the lead on 19 minutes with a goal of classic counter-attacking quality. After Warrenpoint had seen a shot blocked at one end, Welders raced up to the other in no time at all. William Armstrong broke free down the left and his low cross found Mark unmarked just inside the box and he sidefooted into the bottom left hand corner to make it 1-0.
The hosts equalised just five minutes later when Marty Havern connected with a Darren King cross from the right but it was the visitors who regained the lead in first half stoppage time.
Mark Armstrong forced his way through down the left and his short was pushed out for a corner by ‘Point keeper Martin Marron. From that corner, captain Phillip Simpson headed the ball back across goal for Armstrong to turn it in for his and his side’s second of the match.
The Welders held firm in the face of plenty of Warrenpoint pressure as they took the victory and condemned Warrenpoint to five defeats from five in all competitions this season.
Warrenpoint Town: Marron, King, D Hughes (Grant 80), McVeigh, S Hughes, McCabe, Bagnall, Gargan (M Hughes H-T), Moan, Havern (McDonnell 72), Boyle
Subs not used: Cowan, McCreanor
Harland & Wolff Welders: Dougherty, Spence, W Armstrong, Beattie (Harris 73), McMurray, Simpson, Dickson, Davidson, M Armstrong, Devine, Magennis
Subs not used: Deanes, Hunsdale, Galbraith
Referee: Damian Maguire