Crusaders end Linfield’s Irish Cup domination

Crusaders Timmy Adamson
Crusaders Timmy Adamson

Linfield’s Irish Cup domination hit the buffers at bitterly cold Seaview.

The Blues have paraded the trophy six times over the past seven years, but goals from Gary McCutcheon and Timmy Adamson brought that remarkable run to its knees.

It was only Linfield’s second defeat in 42 cup games, but the reality is that David Jeffrey’s boys now face the prospect of ending the season empty handed.

It looked so good for the Blues when Brian McCaul fired them into a first half lead, but Stephen Baxter’s cup specialists then went to work – and there was no way back when Adamson struck the decisive blow just after the hour.

Crusaders will now meet Glenavon in the sixth round at their North Belfast base on February 9.

Linfield carved out the first chance on 12 minutes when Matthew Tipton lashed the ball over the bar from a Michael Carvill free kick after Crues goalkeeper Craig Hyland, who was making his debut, had flapped at the cross.

Crusaders gradually adapted to the frantic pace and Timmy Adamson came within inches of breaking the deadlock on 21 minutes, but his flick header from a monster Gareth McKeown throw-in flashed wide.

McCaul lit up the north Belfast venue on 27 minutes with that brilliant opener. Even though he appeared in acres of space, he decided to let rip from fully 30 yards and the ball arrowed into the top corner, leaving Hyland as a mere spectator.

The goal stung the Crues into action with the impressive Morrow taking off on a solo run only the blast the ball into the midriff Blues defender William Murphy.

Linfield then had appeals for a penalty kick on 35 minutes when Carvill appeared to be brought down by Hyland inside the box. Referee Colin Burns waved away the protests and promptly flashed the yellow card in the direction of the little No 10, for simulation.

Baxter’s boys were level soon after following another controversial decision by the referee when he penalised Albert Watson for an apparent push on Adamson inside the box.

McCutcheon held his nerve to send Glendinning the wrong way from the spot – it was his 14th strike of the season.

Crusaders forced the pace after the restart with Declan Caddell testing Glendinning with a looping header from a pin-point McKeown cross.

With so much at stake, the game became ragged. Defender Magowan decided to try his luck from distance on 64 minutes, but Glendinning had little difficulty in dealing with the shot.

The Crues forged in front on 59 minutes – Adamson bagging his 15th of the season. Jordan Owens’ cross was miscued by Heatley, but the ball fell perfectly for Adamson who thumped home from close range.