Belfast Telegraph

League Cup final player ratings: How Linfield and Ballymena United performed as Callacher leads the way

Linfield's Jimmy Callacher was named man of the match.
Linfield's Jimmy Callacher was named man of the match.

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.

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.

Linfield substitutions

Michael O’Connor (Stewart 67) 6: Made a nuisance of himself and was a good man to bring on

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