Aaron Burns double in extra-time is right tonic for new boss David Healy

Linfield's Aaron Burns celebrates after scoring in extra time
Linfield's Aaron Burns celebrates after scoring in extra time

An Aaron Burns extra-time double whammy helped book Linfield a spot in semi final of the Toals County Antrim Shield.

In a night of drama against Cliftonville at Windsor Park, the midfielder struck to give new manager David Healy his first win at the international venue he graced for many years.

But holders Cliftonville certainly made a battle of it.

They took the lead early in the first half through Jay Donnelly only to see it wiped away by Andy Waterworth seven minutes after the break.

With the clock ticking down and the possibility of a penalty shootout, Burns struck on the 93rd minute before he rapped in a last gasp penalty kick.

Following a first half of heavy sparring, the game erupted four minutes before the break with Cliftonville roaring in front.

It will give Healy nightmares as he watched both Niall Quinn and Ivan Sproule come out second best in a duel with Reds defender Tomas Cosgrove.

And, when he sent in a delicious cross, young Donnelly just couldn’t miss from four yards.

But Linfield should have been level seconds later, again Healy will have nightmares.

He watched his team miss their second penalty in three days. Aaron Burns was the culprit against Carrick at the weekend.

Referee Mervyn Smyth had no hesitation on pointing to the spot after George McMullan had upended Jamie Mulgrew, who was in full flight.

Skipper Andy Waterworth stepped up only to see his low drive brilliantly saved by Peter Burke.

The second half started as the first ended, but this time it was the chance for the home fans to celebrate.

Niall Quinn’s cross from the left was met by Waterworth and there was always going to be one outcome with his bullet header flashing past Burke.

The game erupted only three minutes into extra time when Burns shot the Blues into the lead, finishing off a Waterworth shot on the goal line.

And the Blues sealed it the last minute of extra time.

Bates tumbled under a challenge from Ryan Catney and the referee once more pointed to the spot.

On this occasion, Burns didn’t make the same mistake.

Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (Salley 105), Lowry, Bates (Ward 110), Burns, Mulgrew, Glendinning, Sproule (Millar 70), Quinn.

Subs not used: Deane, Hegarty.

Cliftonville: Burke, McGovern, Ives, Flynn, Knowles, McMullan (Catney 80), Winchester (Garrett 55), C Murray (McDaid 67), Donnelly, Cosgrove.

Subs not used: Brennan, Mooney.

Referee: M Smyth (Belfast).