Belfast Telegraph

Derry City slicker than the Blues

Linfield are crushed in second half blitz

By Peter Hutcheon

Derry City 3-1 Linfield (Derry won 4-2 on aggregate)

Derry City swept past Linfield with a commanding second half performance at the Brandywell on Tuesday night.

Goals from Barry Molloy, Stephen McLaughlin and Simon Madden saw the Candystripes book their place in the semi-finals of the Setanta Sports Cup.

City made all the early running as they took the game to Linfield and tried to capitalise on the away goal they had taken from the first game at Windsor Park which finished 1-1.

And it took them 10 minutes to work a first effort on Alan Blayney’s goal which came after some great control on the edge of the area by McLaughlin, but the Derry winger could only steer his shot straight at the keeper’s chest.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for William Murphy when he was booked as early as the 15th minute for unfairly halting a Mark Farren dash forward.

From the resulting free kick 30 yards out Ruaidhri Higgins forced a diving fingertip save from Blayney with a well directed effort.

But neither side really managed to settle into any sort of a rhythm in the early stages.

What finally sparked the game into life was the Linfield opener, which came with their first attack on the half-hour mark.

A beautifully judged through ball from the left by Jim Ervin picked out Jamie Mulgrew running between the two Derry central defenders and he added a solid finish to give the Blues the lead.

Then in the 42nd minute Molloy cleverly picked out Farren with a quick ball from central midfield for the striker to chase but Blayney reacted quickly to come off his line and snuff out the danger.

McLaughlin brought another fine stop from Blayney with a 56th minute free kick and it looked as though a set piece was going to be City’s best way back into the tie.

But then in the 66th minute with Patrick McEleney making a big difference in attack, the City substitute found the way through as he combined with fullback Simon Madden for a centre which Molloy rose high to head home from 18 yards.

Farren had the perfect chance to put City ahead in the 71st minute when clean through on Blayney and although he did take the ball around the Linfield keeper, with Steven Douglas on the goalline, the Derry striker could not get any power behind his shot.

Within a minute that was forgotten as Farren and McEleney worked the ball through the Linfield penalty area, cleverly finding McLaughlin steaming in from the left to side foot in Derry’s second.

In the dying minutes, as the Blues pressed for an equaliser, Derry caught the visitors completely cold on the break, Madden supplying the finishing touch in injury time to clinch victory and book a place in the last four against Shamrock Rovers.

Derry City: Doherty, McCallion, Greacen, McCaffrey, Madden, McBride, Molloy, Higgins, McLaughlin, McGaid, Farren. Subs: McEleney, McGroary, Crossan, Morrison, Ferry, Curran, Barr.

Linfield: Blayney, Ervin, Murphy, Watson, Curran, Lowry, Gault, Mulgrew, Garrett, Carvill, Thompson. Subs: Addis, Douglas, Armstrong, BJ Burns, Fordyce, Browne, McAllister.

Referee: Tomas Connolly (Dublin).

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