Belfast Telegraph

'Old man' Glendinning eyes first team return after wee Linfield Steel Cup win

Dundela 1-3 Linfield Swifts

By Keith Bailie

Linfield Swifts goal-scoring hero Reece Glendinning described himself as the old man of the team after lifting the Toals Bookmakers Steel & Sons Cup at Seaview on Christmas Eve.

Glendinning opened the scoring in the 34th minute as Linfield romped to a 3-1 win over Dundela, with Cameron Stewart and Adam McCallum also finding the net.

The right-back joked: "I'm the old hand in this team and I'm only 21!

"The team is full of teenagers, which makes this win all the more special. There is really only myself and Jonny Frazer who have first team experience.

"It's a fantastic achievement and I've no doubt that a lot of these guys will go on to become first team players at Windsor Park. There's a lot of ability in the team."

Reflecting on his 34th-minute goal, Glendinning laughed off comparison with his father Mark, who was famous for weighing in with important goals for Bangor, Glenavon and Glentoran during an illustrious career.

Reece said: "I'm nothing like my da, because I kicked it in. He only scored headers!

"I was standing at the back post and I just prodded it past the keeper when the ball came my way.

"It was nice to score but I was more pleased to win the trophy. I think we deserved it. Dundela played well for about 10 minutes after half-time. Other than that, I think we were well on top."

Glendinning is now keen to win a spot in David Healy's first team.

He added: "It's a great honour to play for Linfield Swifts and I'm delighted to have a Steel & Sons winners' medal.

"It's still a big cup final in front of a big crowd.

"But my aim is to keep working hard and get back into the first team.

"I've a year left on my contract and I believe I'm good enough to play for Linfield."

The scoring was opened when talented left-back Eamon Scannell sent a free-kick towards the back post.

The Duns defence failed to clear the ball, allowing Glendinning to ghost in at the back post and steer home from six-yards.

A minute later, it was 2-0. Frazer whipped a low right-wing cross along the front of goal that was met by Stewart. Goalkeeper Jonathan Sergeant saved his first effort, but the former Crusaders man made no mistake with the rebound, poking the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Dundela manager David Murphy made a double substitution at half-time, introducing James Sofley and Jamie Jackson.

The move injected some life into his side, with Jackson scoring in the 52nd minute. His over-hit inswinging cross missed everybody, curling past goalkeeper Alex Moore and into the Linfield net.

The Swifts weathered a brief Dundela storm to score again in the 71st minute when Scannell's corner kick was headed home by McCallum, despite the defence's best efforts to clear the ball off the line.

Although the east Belfast side worked hard, Linfield Swifts were well worth their first Steel & Sons Cup success since Christmas Day 1997.

Duns boss Murphy said: "We were disappointing but I'm still proud of the boys.

"They've worked incredibly hard to get to the final and deserve credit for getting this far.

"It's tough, because we were so close to winning the trophy, yet also so far away from it at the same time.

"We will now move on from this and focus on the league," he added.

"We have a really good team here and I'm confident we can climb the Premier Intermediate table."

The man of the match award was handed to Linfield's Scannell.

The teenager normally plays in midfield, but boss Alan Dornan deployed him at full-back for the showpiece final.

He set up two goals and hit the crossbar with a sensational 37th-minute free-kick.

The youngster beamed: "It's a great honour to be named man of the match, but I'm just delighted that we won."

Dundela: Sergeant, Roy, Brown, Irwin, Morrison, Healy, Collins (Jackson, 46 mins), Ferguson, Burrows, McCelland, Lenaghan (Sofley, 46 mins). Unused subs: Kerr, Manley, Thompson

Linfield Swifts: Moore, Glendinning, Scannell, McCallum (Mitchell, 90 mins), Stewart, Houston (Moore, 71 mins), Frazer, Taggart, Strain (Brown, 68 mins.) , Neale, Fallon. Unused subs: McComb, Murray

Man of the Match: Eamon Scannell

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Stuart McFarland

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