League Cup final player ratings: How Linfield and Ballymena United performed as Callacher leads the way
Linfield edged a tight Bet McLean League Cup final on Saturday evening despite a spirited performance by Ballymena United
So how did all the players rate?
Here's the Sunday Life's take on their performances:
Ballymena United starting XI
Ross Glendinning 6: Could do little about Waterworth’s fabulous finish that ultimately decided the contest. Made routine saves on other occasions.
Jim Ervin 7: Tigerish battler who doesn’t give an inch. Lucky to only be yellow carded for a foul on his old pal Mulgrew. Kept fighting to the end.
Jonny Addis 7: Made a great clearance in second half on a rare Linfield attack. Another typically steady display from the ex-Glentoran ace.
Kofi Balmer 6: Quality young defender with bags of potential. Tried to get forward as much as he could and his long throw was a useful weapon.
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Andrew McGrory 6: Key performer in Ballymena’s fine start to the season. Shot wide in the second half as the Sky Blues dominated proceedings last night.
Steven McCullough 7: Influenced the game the more it went on with his dangerous crossing and one such delivery saw him hit the post from a corner.
Leroy Millar 6: Tireless midfielder kept battling throughout trying to push Ballymena on for the equaliser, but it simply wasn’t to be.
James Knowles 6: Started well and had an early drive deflected onto the post. Suffered a knee injury in the first half and came off at the break.
Jude Winchester 6: Talented player who had some neat touches in the middle of the park but didn’t quite live up to his billing on the night.
Cathair Friel 6: Will feel he could have had a hat-trick. Had half-chances and one glorious opportunity from close range but blazed over.
Adam Lecky 6: Caused problems for Linfield defence but chances didn’t come his way. Involved in off-the-ball incident with Robinson that left the Blues fuming.
Ballymena United substitutions
Tony Kane (Knowles 46) 7: Drove United forward
Johnny McMurray (Winchester 74) 5: Crude foul on Mulgrew
Matthew Shevlin (McGrory 83) 5: Little time to make impact
Linfield starting XI
Gareth Deane 7: Edgy at times but the young keeper kept a clean sheet and made fine saves to stop Cathair Friel and a Jimmy Callacher own goal.
Chris Casement 6: The defender loves to raid forward, but found himself deployed in a more defensive role last night and typically did a solid job.
Joshua Robinson 6: Produced a great break forward for Linfield’s opening goal and almost scored himself. Caught out at the back on occasion.
Jimmy Callacher 8: He’s having a brilliant season and continued that here. Strong man at the back for Linfield but was really tested last night.
Matthew Clarke 7: In at left-back and surged forward well early on, putting in a few crunching tackles to leave his mark. Had a first half shot saved.
Kirk Millar 6: Industrious as always but his normal quality delivery was missing throughout and he wasn’t a major influence going forward.
Kyle McClean 6: Brought in on loan, McClean has proved a good acquisition. Steady performer in midfield for the Blues. Nearly scored last night.
Jamie Mulgrew 7: The Linfield captain always leads by example. Found himself fouled constantly as he tried to drive his team out of defence.
Niall Quinn 7: Clever pass to set up Linfield’s goal but got himself needlessly booked after his push on Jim Ervin started an unseemly skirmish.
Andy Waterworth 7: The striker rarely disappoints. His classy finish in the 15th minute broke the deadlock and was enough to win the game.
Jordan Stewart 6: Showed some lovely skill on occasion and almost set up a goal for McClean but, overall, didn’t have his usual big impact.
Michael O’Connor (Stewart 67) 6: Made a nuisance of himself and was a good man to bring on
Belfast Telegraph Digital