Linfield secure Carrick win with late Kurtis Bryne goal
Carrick Rangers 0-1 Linfield
Kurtis Bryne’s first Linfield goal since signing from St Patrick's Athletic gifted his side all three points at the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena against Carrick Rangers on a wet Tuesday night.
It was Linfield who started the better of the sides with the first real chance coming on 15 minutes as Stephen Lowry drove forward before his cross toward Andy Waterworth was well claimed by Harry Doherty in the Carrick goal.
It was Lowry who had the next opening for David Healy’s side as he headed over a Waterworth cross moments later when he really should have made Doherty make a save.
David McAlinden’s side went close on 17 minutes as Denver Gage rose highest to head an Eamon McAllister corner just wide of Roy Carroll’s upright.
The visitors thought they had gone ahead on 26 minutes as Campion chested down a long ball from Mark Haughey. The ball fell to Byrne but his low powerful strike was superbly kept out by the fingertips of Docherty.
Three minutes later it was the Blues who created another chance as Haughey played another long ball forward it fell to the feet of Byrne before his low strike was cleared off the line by Danny Magill.
Roy Carroll was then called upon to come to Linfield’s rescue as Chris Morrow picked Mark Edgar out from a freekick, only for his low shot to be blocked by the leg of the former Manchester United stopper.
On the stroke of the break Carrick's Gavin Taggart was fortunate to escape with a yellow after bringing down Kirk Millar which saw the half draw to a close.
Linfield started the second half on top and they were inches away from taking the lead on 47 minutes as Jimmy Callacher drilled a powerful effort just wide of the target after Gage had only half cleared a low Waterworth cross from the right.
Healy’s side created another good opening on 59 minutes as Haughey beat Aaron Smyth before his cross found Millar, however, he blazed his effort over the crossbar when he should have forced a save out of Doherty.
McAlinden’s side then could have broken the deadlock as Morrow’s floated in cross caught the wind resulting in the ball floating over keeper Carroll and thankfully over the Blues' crossbar.
As the game opened up it was the visitors once again who could have taken the lead as the impressive Waterworth saw his cross deflected away by Gage. The ball falling perfectly to Lowry but the shot just wide of the target.
Healy’s side were putting the pressure on the home side and they nearly had their reward on 68 minutes as Josh Robinson met a Matthew Clarke corner perfectly, but he flicked his header wide of goal when it looked set for the back of the net.
On 70 minutes Doherty was to keep the game level as he made a fantastic low save after Campion skipped through the Rangers defence before his low effort was well parried by the keeper.
As Linfield pressed and pressed they created another fine opening on 73 minutes as Robert Garrett tried his luck from 25 yards out but he blazed his effort high and over the crossbar.
However, the Blues finally made the breakthrough on 80 minutes as Byrne volleyed in a cross from substitute Ryan Strain the teenager on the pitch for less than a minute making a superb introduction.
It could have been two minutes later as Niall Quinn curled in a low freekick, but the ball didn’t get the touch of a striker it needed before sailing just wide of the target in the final piece of action in the game.
Belfast Telegraph Digital