Belfast Telegraph

In pictures: David Cushley winner seals Crusaders' comeback County Antrim Shield success in seven-goal thriller against Linfield

Crusaders 4-3 Linfield

Crusaders celebrate with the County Antrim Shield
Crusaders celebrate with the County Antrim Shield
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Jordan Forsythe celebrates his equalising goal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Linfield's Andy Mitchell Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Charlie Murphy congratulates David Cushley Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final Crusaders Captain Colin Coates lift the Co Antrim Antrim shield after beating Linfield during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Crusaders celebrate with the County Antrim Shield.
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Philip Lowry and Sean Ward celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Colin Coates lifts the Shield Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Colin Coates lifts the Shield Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders winners Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders winners Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Michael Ruddy,Sean Ward and Billy Joe burns celebrate Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final Crusaders Jordan Forsythe celebrates making it 3-3 Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final Crusaders Jordan Forsythe celebrates making it 3-3 Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final Crusaders Colin Coates celebrates making it 2-3 Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
David Cushley celebrates his first goal of the game.
Linfield's Mark Stafford celebrates his goal. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Jordan Stewart scores during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Andy Waterworth and Crusaders Colin Coates during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Linfield's Kirk Millar celebrates scoring Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Linfield's Kirk Millar celebrates scoring Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders David Cushley celebrates scoring Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders David Cushley in action with Linfield's Jordan Stewart Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Linfield's Mark Stafford fires the Blues into a 1-0 lead Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
12th March 2019 Toals County Antrim Shield final Crusaders v Linfield at Seaview Crusaders Billy Joe Burns in action with Linfield's Kirk Millar Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final LinfieldÕs Jordan Stewart scores during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final LinfieldÕs Jordan Stewart scores during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final LinfieldÕs Jordan Stewart scores during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/03/2019 CRUSADERS V LINFIELD Co Antrim Shield Final Crusaders David Cushley scores during this evenings game at Seaview in Belfast Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Jordan Stewart scores during this evening's game at Seaview in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Linfield's Kirk Millar celebrates scoring. ©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

David Cushley scored a last gasp winner as Crusaders came from 3-1 down at half-time to beat Linfield in the County Antrim Shield final at Seaview.

It was a stunning game that featured three goals in as many minutes during the first half before the Crues scored two late strikes to seal the comeback success.

Cushley ended the game with two goals, an assist and the man of the match award as the holders retained their trophy with Colin Coates and Jordan Forsythe also on target. Storm Gareth played a huge part in the game, behind Linfield for the first half and roaring Crusaders forward in the second.

"It was a crazy game but a good game to play in," said Crues goalkeeper Sean O'Neill. "The conditions were tough but both teams acquitted themselves well and thankfully we came out on top in the end.

"It's probably the way you want to win a game. Linfield didn't have long to get a goal.

"We knew at 3-1 it wasn't over. They set the precedent for the game. We couldn't get out for 45 minutes in the first half. Thankfully we got a goal against the run of play and then in the second half, we put the ball in on top of them and they cracked under the pressure.

"(The conditions were) horrendous. I actually spoke to Linfield's keeper after the game and he said those were the worst conditions he has played in. Even the first goal, they nearly scored straight from the corner that hit the bar. Thankfully, we just got over the line."

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Mark Stafford opened the scoring, putting the Blues, who had the stormy wind behind them, ahead when he stooped to head in after Kirk Millar's corner could only be palmed onto the bar by Sean O'Neill.

Crusaders stemmed Linfield's attacking flow and drew level on 28 as David Cushley blasted into the bottom corner from Jordan Owen's knock-down but that was to kick-off arguably the three most bonkers minutes of Irish League football this season.

Seconds later, Linfield regained the advantage, Millar finishing off after O'Neill had saved Andy Waterworth's drive. And the lead was double, Millar again involved as his cross was met by BJ Burns but his attempted clearance cannoned off captain Colin Coates and into his own net for 3-1.

The Crues, however, with a blistering wind at their backs after the break, weren't beaten.

On 61 minutes, Coates made amends for his OG by heading a corner home for 3-2.

The Crues continued to push, powered forward by a wind that reached ridiculous speeds. At one point, Linfield keeper Conor Mitchell's attempted clearance ballooned up and over his head, out for a corner kick.

Linfield held out until 88 minutes when Jordan Forsythe turned Cushley's driven corner into the net. It looked like that goal had forced extra-time until the same duo combined in the first minute of injury-time, this time the other way round as Forsythe's free-kick was nodded home by Cushley.

Here's the game as it happened:

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