Linfield 11 Kilmore Rec 0: Linfield coasted to one of the biggest competitive wins in their history last night when Kilmore Rec were thumped 11-0 but manager David Jeffrey revealed that a fear of failure drove his players on.
The result was never in doubt as the Premiership champions ran riot at the Oval to set up a ‘Big Two’ County Antrim Shield decider against Glentoran on Tuesday, November 30.
But the Blues boss named a strong line-up as he was haunted by the fear his troops would sink to a humiliating defeat.
“Our motivation was not getting to the first final of the season, or playing Glentoran because those things take care of themselves,” said Jeffrey. “I just wanted the players to imagine the unimaginable.
“That will give you the focus. Think about what could happen and how embarrassed you will feel. Our focus and football was very good.”
The odds of winning by double figures were a huge 350-1 but Jeffrey said he wasn’t anticipating such an avalanche of goals.
“I wasn’t really thinking about that,” he added. “I just told them to keep going.
“This is maybe going to sound ironic but if you do respect the opponents then you keep going.
“There was no showboating, big time Charlies or fancy football. We were quick, slick and effective.”
Still smarting from their penalty shoot-out defeat to Newry City on Saturday in the Co-operative Insurance Cup, goal-crazy Linfield took out their frustration on the minnows.
Winning trophies is always the mantra at Windsor Park and the desire to collect silverware has just been raised to a new level after the Showgrounds shock when Jeffrey's men crashed out of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.
“When you get put out of a competition you realise it’s gone for another year,” said Jeffrey. “It’s a long time before you can challenge for it again.”
Linfield, who hammered Crusaders 8-1 at Windsor Park, subjected the Amateur League side
from Crossgar to the same ruthless treatment.
Peter Thompson netted a hat-trick while centre-back David Armstrong opened his Blues’ account with a brace.
Kilmore may have dreamed of an upset but their worst nightmares unfolded.
Linfield were 4-0 ahead by the 40th minute as any hopes of a sensational shock washed away as the heavens opened.
Linfield, wearing their orange away kit, broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Curtis Allen’s corner was headed downward by Mark McAllister and Armstong found the net with a low drive from eight yards.
It was the 23-year-old’s first goal for the club he supported as a youngster.
The second arrived in the 20th minute when, after neat approach play from Thompson and McAllister, Robert Garrett kept a cool head to beat keeper Nathan Curran.
By the 28th minute it was 3-0. McAllister lit up the Oval with a dazzling solo effort, dancing over defenders’ legs before lifting the ball into the corner of the net.
Player-boss Gary Kennedy al
most grabbed a goal back for the Rec with a curling shot in the 38th minute but to the relief of keeper Alan Blayney, the ball sailed inches past the upright.
Normal service resumed in the 40th minute when a stunning sprint down the left wing from Aaron Burns set up the fourth goal on a plate for Thompson.
Within a minute of the restart, Thommo found the net again, collecting a pass and lifting the ball over Curran before slotting home.
Chris Casement made it six with a powerful drive in the 56th minute and on the hour Thompson’s sweet volley from Garrett’s cross gave the striker his hat-trick — and Linfield’s first of the season.
Armstrong’s close range header from Allen’s corner made it a eight for the rampant Blues.
On 76 minutes Allen’s header from Garrett’s cross was number nine and double figures arrived a minute later when Lowry chipped the ball in from close range.
Ever-alert Blayney denied Rec a consolation when he blocked Niall Murray’s low drive but Garrett’s long range strike, which spilled through the hands of Curran, made it 11-0.
LINFIELD: Blayney, Garrett, Armstrong, Gault (Lowry 45), McAllister (McCrory 65), Burns (O’Kane 70), Curran, Casement, Thompson, Allen, Ervin. Subs not used: Bailie, BJ Burns.
KILMORE REC: Curran, Cheevers, Gill (McMenamin 45), Sloan, McGreevy, McCarthy, Lewis (Bell 45), Rogan (Graham 64), Murray, Traynor, Kennedy. Subs not used: G Curran, J Murray.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast).