Crusaders 1-2 Linfield

Linfield came from a goal down to beat Crusaders in the Irish Cup final at Windsor Park to complete their fifth league and cup double in six years.

A superb 54th-minute strike by Declan Caddell had given Crusaders the lead.

Peter Thompson equalised on 78 minutes, pouncing when substitute Jamie Mulgrew's shot had been saved by Crues keeper Chris Keenan.

Mark McAllister pounced for the winner in the 87th minute after Keenan had failed to hold another Mulgrew shot.

Mulgrew did not come on until the 63rd minute but his impact earned him the man of the match award.

Striker Thompson becomes the only player to score in four post-war Irish Cup finals.

Declan Caddell fired Crusaders into the lead against Linfield
Declan Caddell fired Crusaders into the lead against Linfield

Crusaders, runners-up to Linfield in the race for the Irish Premiership title, had seemed to set for a second cup success in three seasons when Caddell's left-foot beauty put them into the lead.

It stemmed from a long free-kick into the penalty area by skipper Colin Coates. Michael Halliday and Stephen Douglas went up for it and the ball broke across the box for Caddell to score.

Blues boss David Jeffrey sent on Mulgrew for Philip Lowry and then Jamie Tomelty for Jim Ervin. It was Mulgrew's introduction which swung the contest.

When a ball came over from the left, Mulgrew shot from the edge of the box. Keenan dived to save but the ball broke loose for Thompson to sweep in his 28th goal in 29 Irish Cup matches.

The momentum was now with the champions and they felt they should have had a penalty for Gareth McKeown's push on the back of McAllister.

Referee Mark Courtney had another penalty verdict to consider when Jordan Owens went down in the other penalty area and it ended with the Crues front man being booked for diving.

Then came the winner as Mulgrew's shot was spilled by Keenan in the wet, slippery conditions and McAllister forced in from close-range.

CRUSADERS: Keenan, McKeown, McBride, Magowan, Coates, Dallas, Watson, Morrow (McMaster 86), Caddell, Owens, Halliday (Rainey 79).

LINFIELD: Blayney, Ervin (Tomelty 75), Douglas, Casement, Curran, Lowry (Mulgrew 63), Gault, Garrett, Carvill, McAllister, Thompson.

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