David Healy hails hat-trick hero as they set up Ballymena semi-final
David Healy was full of praise for hat-trick hero Shayne Lavery as Linfield brushed aside Loughgall to keep their hopes of a League and Cup double very much alive.
The Blues were wary of Dean Smith’s side, who had dumped out Warrenpoint Town on Saturday.
But Lavery showed his usual composure to score either side of half time, before Jamie Rea reduced the arrears. Up stepped Lavery again though to score a third late on to set up a semi-final clash with Ballymena United much to the delight of his manager.
“Shayne was good tonight, he showed great workrate and hunger and his first goal was clinical,” Healy told BBC Sport.
“He had a couple of other half chances after that but credit to him when he misses a chance he’s always desperate to score the next. I love that in centre forwards.
“He’s been a phenomenal player for us. His last goal was a superb finish and you can’t coach that.”
On the semi-final draw the Linfield boss added: “It wouldn’t matter who you got in the semi-finals, everyone has earned the right to be there and they will feel they have every opportunity to win it.
“We look forward to the challenge from Ballymena, we know everything about them and their manager.
“I’ve gone on record countless times saying how much of a top manager Mr Jeffrey is and hailing the job him and Bryan McLaughlin have done.”
Jordan Stewart was first to threaten at Lakeview Park as he fired off a curling effort on 11 minutes which was well saved by Berraat Turker in the home goal.
David Healy’s men breathed a real sigh of relief on 35 minutes after more good work from Nedas Maciulaitis set Dale Malone away, but his effort struck the post with Johns gathering the rebound.
Linfield punished the home side for that miss five minutes later as that man Shayne Lavery broke the deadlock. He latched on to a loose ball before finishing well beyond Turker.
And before the break Stewart released Lavery, but Turker did well to block.
Four minutes after the restart Lavery though did grab a second as he kept his cool after racing on to a slack backpass before coolly slotting home.
Just past the hour mark though the home side got themselves back into the game.Maciulaitis forced Johns into a great save, but Jamie Rea was alert to force home the rebound. But the
Blues stood firm and they sealed the win right at the death as that man Lavery completed his hat-trick with another exquisite finish.
At Ballymena Showgrounds the home side put Dergview to the sword early on.
Ross Redman’s cross picked out Leroy Millar, the midfielder though miscued his shot, however it sat up nicely for Shay McCartan to fire in his 19th of the season.
It went from bad to worse for Dergview as they found themselves 3-0 soon after.
First Ryan Waide slotted home from another Redman centre, before defender Trai Hume added a third as the visitors failed to clear their lines from a corner. A fourth did arrived before the hour mark as Redman picked out Paul McElroy who finished well.
Waide then rattled the crossbar from yet another Redman cross before Kofi Balmer added a fifth on 68 minutes.
At Inver Park the unfortunate Kurtis Forsythe headed into his own net on 23 minutes before Marty Donnelly corssed for Ronnan Hale to double the lead soon after.
Conor Devlin was forced off due to injury and his replacement Conor Mitchell had a moment to forget on 57 minutes as he spilled Kyle Cherry’s corner for Jordan Gibson to score.
He redeemed himself with a good save to deny Reece Glendinning as Larne held on to set up a meeting with Crusaders.
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