Linfield 0-1 Crusaders

Jordan Owens struck in the second half to give holders Crusaders victory over Linfield in the League Cup semi-final.

There were few first-half chances on an icy Windsor Park pitch but Linfield striker Peter Thompson headed against the woodwork just after the break.

Owens missed out with a header before stabbing in on 64 minutes after being played through by Paul Heatley, who volleyed wide seconds later.

Blues substitute Matthew Tipton fired wide with a late chance.

Crusaders had an early penalty appeal turned down on a freezing night in south Belfast, with players struggling to keep their footing on the hard surface.

Crues keeper Sean O'Neill saved twice from Philip Lowry and also palmed away Jamie Mulgrew's shot.

The visitors also created half chances with Josh Robinson's long-range effort saved by Alan Blayney before Colin Coates fired wide.

Mulgrew crossed for Thompson's header 40 seconds after the restart, with the ball hitting the corner of post and bar.

Heatley was a constant danger in the second half and the winger sent striker Owens through for the only goal.

Linfield, struggling in the league and having lost the Co Antrim Shield final, pressed for the equaliser but Tipton snatched at his shot in the dying seconds.

The Crues held on to progress to a final against north Belfast rivals Cliftonville on 26 January.

"We were worthy winners and for our club to get to another final is wonderful," said delighted Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

"We are very pleased - our form since last Christmas has been sensational."

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