Mark Carson and Michael O'Connor contest possession (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)
Tuesday, 04 December 2018
Jordan Stewart struck in stoppage time as Linfield narrowly defeated Portadown in the last remaining BetMcLean League Cup quarter-final at Shamrock Park.
The Blues now face holders Dungannon Swifts next Tuesday evening at Stangmore Park (11th December, kick-off 7:45pm) for a place in the decider.
Stewart had a hand in Linfield's opening goal as early as the seventh minute. Kirk Millar floated the ball over the top for Stewart, who cut inside and tested Declan Dunne. The Ports keeper made the initial save but only as far as Michael O'Connor who promptly knocked home the rebound.
That proved to be one of few chances in an otherwise cautious first half, although Millar twice offered up headers from Niall Quinn deliveries, but both went too high.
The Ports had an opportunity towards the end of the first half when Ryan Carmichael found Adam Salley on the edge of the area but his shot was dragged just wide.
Linfield hit the woodwork twice in quick succession early in the second half.
On 55 minutes Quinn smashed the ball against the crossbar from 30 yards before, moments later from a corner, Millar crossed for Mark Stafford to nod onto an upright.
Portadown levelled on 69 minutes when a Sean Mackle corner was flicked on for Carmichael to nod past Roy Carroll at the back post.
Despite pushing for the winner both sides could only muster up a series of half chances before, with extra-time seemingly inevitable, Stewart bagged Linfield's second on 91 minutes with a finish into the roof of the net following a build up involving Quinn, Matthew Clarke and Lorcan Forde.
Portadown: Dunne, Carson, McCallum, Lavery, Salley, Hall, Thompson, Wilson, Carmichael, Mackle, Storey subs Blair (not used), Neill (not used), Kilmartin (not used), Anderson (not used), Douglas (not used), Robinson (not used), Tipton (not used)
Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Callacher, O'Connor, Stewart, Millar, Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, Quinn, Casement subs Deane (not used), Möller Nielsen (not used), Forde (replaced Millar 66), Doyle (not used), Garrett (not used), Mitchell (replaced Stewart 90+1), Reynolds (not used)
Referee: Lee Tavinder
|Jordan Stewart||90 +2||90 +1|
|Andrew Mitchell||90 +2|