League Cup holders Linfield edge out brave Ballinamallard

Linfield boss David Healy. Pic by INPHO.
Linfield boss David Healy. Pic by INPHO.
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BetMcLean League Cup holders Linfield edged out Ballinamallard United in a nine-goal thriller at Ferney Park.

David Healy’s men were two minutes from exiting the competition as they trailed 3-2, before Daniel Reynolds popped up to take the game to extra time, where they eventually sealed the win.

It was harsh on Harry McConkey’s side, who twice led on the night.

The visitors fell behind behind inside three minutes when Ryan Campbell volleyed home Callum Moorehead’s cross. Campbell was denied a second after a smart save by Deane.

Linfield finally found their way with John Connolly saving well from Joel Cooper, before Andy Waterworth struck the post with a shot.

They finally drew level on 34 minutes as Shayne Lavery rose highest to head home Kirk Millar’s corner. Four minutes later the Blues edged into the lead as Waterworth turned provider for Ryan McGivern to slot home.

Just before the break the hosts had an effort cleared off the line.

Campbell was proving to be a real handful, he forced Deane into action again after the restart. But the keeper was helpless as the frontman headed in from close range to level the tie on 55 minutes.

With 15 minutes to go the Mallards regained the lead again as Moorehead poked home from Jay McCartney’s cross.

With two minutes to go substitute Daniel Reynolds saved the holders as he scrambled the ball home to take the game to extra time.

Four minutes into extra time the home side suffered another blow as Millar’s cross was deflected into his own net by Ben McCann as he attempted to clear the danger.

Shortly after Waterworth scored to make it 5-3 and give David Healy’s men a bit of breathing space.

To their credit Ballinamallard kept pushing and they pulled another goal back in the final minute when Sean McEvoy finished well.

Unfortunately though they could not find an equaliser before the end.