Linfield triumph in Big Two battle

Published Wednesday, 26 December 2012
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Two goals in four minutes turned the Big Two battle in favour of Linfield and denied ten man Glentoran a first ever Boxing Day win at Windsor Park.

Linfield triumph in Big Two battle
Mark McAllister beats Elliot Morris to equalise. (© Pacemaker)

Glentoran had been defending gallantly after they had midfielder Stephen McAlorum sent off after an off the ball incident and despite the odds had taken the lead through Jay Magee.

The first chance of the game fell to the Glens with Andy Waterworth getting down the line and whipping over a cross which Richard Clarke got a foot to but Albert Watson made the block to concede a corner.

At the other end, a corner from Johnny Black caused problems as it bounced into a ruck of players and Linfield appealed for a hand ball - but referee David Malcolm waved play on.

Drama followed after Matthew Tipton felled Johnny Magee. While the referee was issuing a yellow Glentoran's Stephen McAlorum appeared to lash out at Michael Gault.

After consulting with the linesman, McAlorum was shown a red - his Boxing Day action lasting a mere five minutes.

Linfield almost took the lead on 13 minutes when Brian McCaul found space on the right flank and delivered a great cross, however Tipton's header smashed off the post.

McCaul then lashed a shot wide after a good build-up but the Glens ahead a few minutes later.

A corner from Stephen Carson fell perfectly for Jay Magee and his powerful header just went over the line after hitting McCaul and the visitors were a goal up after 21 minutes.

Linfield pressed hard for the equaliser with efforts from Tipton and Murphy going wide.

The best chance came on 40 minutes when McAllister pulled the ball back for Gault, however, his shot was prevented from hitting the back of the net by Magee's last gasp challenge.

From the corner Murphy's header just missed the boot of McCaul at the far post.

Right on the stroke of half-time, a goalmouth scramble eventually saw the ball cleared off the Glentoran goal-line.

Tipton had a chance to restore parity within minutes of the second half when he broke clear but Morris dashed out to make the save.

A minute later, the goal beckoned for McAllister but just when he pulled the trigger Magee made another brilliant block challenge.

A shot from Burns was headed off the line by Clarke and from the corner another moment of controversy came when the ball appeared to go over the line.

The referee, however, waved down Linfield appeals.

Moments later, Morris made a great point blank save to deny Tipton as it began to look as if it was not going to be Linfield's day.

Glentoran's resistance was finally broken on 76 minutes.

A Carvill free kick was met by sub Daryl Fordyce, Morris parried it and McCallister accepted the gift as he rifled the ball home.

Having held out for so long, the Glens were now reeling and four minutes later, Linfield struck the front.

A cross from Carvill found McAllister, his shot was saved by Morris but the ball fell kindly for sub Ross Clarke who forced the ball home for his first ever goal for the Blues.

Over at Solitude, the derby spoils went to Cliftonville in the battle between the top two.

Substitute Joe Gormley scored the all important goal to put the leaders nine points clear at the top and a game in hand over their nearest challengers.

Gormley netted with just ten minutes to go and the Crues could find no way back.

In the bottom of the table battle, the spoils were shared in a six goal festive thriller at New Grosvenor between Lisburn Distillery and Donegal Celtic.

Goals from Scott Davidson, Ryan McCann and a 90th minute strike from Jordan Hughes seemed to be enough for the Whites, but Ciaran Gargan made it 3-3 in injury time. Also on target for DC were Ryan Deans and Paul McVeigh.

At Shamrock Park, the Mid-Ulster derby spoils went to Portadown who saw off Glenavon 2-0 with goals from Ross Redman and Richard Lecky.

Glenavon's Conor Hagan had been sent off on 34 minutes.

Ballinamallard United grabbed a late win at Dungannon Swifts with Hill hitting the all important goal in added time.

Goals from David Scullion and Curtis Allen gave Coleraine victory over Ballymena United at The Showgrounds.

Results in full for Irish Premiership, Wednesday 26 December

Linfield - McAllister 75, Clarke 79
Glentoran - Magee 21, McAlorum s/o

Cliftonville - Gormley 80

Coleraine -Scullion 40, Allen 57

Mallards - Hill 93

Distillery - Davidson 61, McCann 66, Hughes 90 (penalty)
DC - Deans 54, McVeigh 78, Gargan 92

Portadown - Redman 41, Lecky 49
Glenavon - Hagan s/o 34

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Tendiwayi in Antrim wrote (760 days ago):
Never heard of Cruesaders Kevin, are you sure they are part of the 'big two'? It was very entertaining watching the two sides of Elliot Morris on Boxing day. The length of time he takes on by balls between when the Glens are in the lead and when they are behind is ridiculous. It was nice to see that his time wasting actually worked against them this time.
william in coleraine wrote (760 days ago):
are you the same sb that wont support rory mcilroy because he feels more british than irish?
boydy in North Coast wrote (762 days ago):
In response to Graham Watts statement about "great gallery of pictues UTV"....yeah if you support one of the teams in the gallery....why are there no pics of Ballymena V Coleraine??
Peter J in County Antrim wrote (762 days ago):
Linfield and Glentoran are still the Big 2 ...just look at the records over the last 25 years not just 4 months and look at the troply haul and you will see the Solitude cabinet is empty
x pat in south africa wrote (762 days ago):
I see a lot of so called Cliftonville supporters have suddenly emerged now that they are top (temporarily of course) of the league and remember folks there never has been a Belfast Big TWO ,there's only Belfast's Big ONE ,the mighty LINFIELD....Ireland's biggest and most sucessful club....FACT !!! Glenmen,Redmen and whoever ...Forever in our Shadows
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While Crusaders may be bossing the Danske Bank Premiership, it was their North Belfast rivals Cliftonville who made the headlines again this weekend.
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