Linfield celebrate winning the Action Mental Health Charity Shield (Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com)
Saturday, 05 August 2017
Linfield laid down a marker for the season ahead with victory over Coleraine in the Action Mental Health Charity Shield at The Oval.
Aaron Burns might have opened the scoring for the Blues as early as the third minute when he got on the end of a Paul Smyth corner only to nod the ball wide from six yards.
At the other end a short time later Jamie McGonigle took the ball past Niall Quinn before crossing for Darren McCauley but he could only drag his volley wide of the target.
Despite that bright start it took until the 33rd minute for the deadlock to be broken when Josh Carson beat Roy Carroll from close range after a superb run and cross from McGonigle.
Linfield levelled just five minutes later when Jordan Stewart played Burns through to slot the ball beyond Chris Johns.
Paul Smyth might have edged the Blues in front just after the hour when he nodded a Mark Haughey against an upright while, on 72 minutes, Stephen O'Donnell came close for the Bannsiders with a flicked finish.
However, two goals within five minutes saw Linfield seize victory. On 74 minutes Andrew Mitchell volleyed past Johns at the back post after Kirk Millar had delivered the ball from the right.
And Millar had a hand in Linfield's third goal with another clinical ball over the top onto which Smyth connected to lob Johns.
Coleraine: Johns, Mullan, Harkin, Douglas, McCauley, Bradley, Carson, Lyons, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle subs Ogilby (not used), Parkhill (replaced Carson 73), Kirk (replaced McCauley 73), Doherty (not used)
Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Haughey, Lowry, J. Stewart, Burns, Casement, Mulgrew, Quinn, R. Clarke, Smyth subs C. Stewart (not used), Robinson (replaced Stafford 46), Millar (replaced R. Clarke 46), Garrett (not used), Mitchell (replaced Lowry 68)
Referee: Tim Marshall