Co Antrim Shield: Linfield 4-1 Cliftonville

Linfield hammer Cliftonville 4-1 at Windsor Park to reach the final of the County Antrim Shield.

Linfield are through to the County Antrim Shield final after a comfortable 4-1 win over Cliftonville at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

The Blues were 2-0 ahead at the break after an own goal by George McMullan and a second goal from Matthew Tipton.

Michael Carvill and Andy Waterworth put Linfield 4-0 ahead before McMullan's late consolation effort for the Reds.

Chris Scannell came off the bench for Cliftonville in a return to competitive action after a 14-month injury lay-off.

The game was marred by sectarian chanting from a section of both sets of supporters during the second half.

At the request of referee Hugh Carvill, an announcement was made over the public address system, urging fans to desist.

Linfield had the better of the early exchanges but missed an early opportunity to take the lead when Tipton blazed over from six yards out.

Cliftonville's best chance of the first half came when Martin Murray's crossed to the back post to Diarmuid O'Carroll, whose downward header appeared to be going in before Sean Ward got back to clear the ball off the line.

Linfield celebrate scoring against Cliftonville in County Antrim Shield semi-final
Linfield celebrate scoring against Cliftonville in County Antrim Shield semi-final

Linfield broke the deadlock on 30 minutes.

Billy Joe Burns' inviting cross from the right looked set to give Tipton a simple tap-in, but Cliftonville captain George McMullan slid in to put the ball in his own net.

Andrew Waterworth had a point blank header saved by Ryan Brown before Tipton scored the Blues second goal of the night.

Michael Gault crossed into the box and he drilled the ball into the net from near the penalty spot.

Carvill tapped home a cross from Waterworth after 67 minutes and Waterworth completed the rout when he rounded the goalkeeper to score Linfield's fourth after 87 minutes.

Cliftonville were restricted to very few chances. Ciaran Doherty was denied a goal when his deflected shot was smartly saved by Jonathan Tuffey.

Reds skipper George McMullan atoned for his own goal blunder with a stoppage time consolation header in the 91st minute.

The highlight of the night for Tommy Breslin's side was striker Chris Scannell's return to meaningful competitive action for the first time in 14 months after a cruciate injury lay-off.

League leaders Linfield progress to the County Antrim Shield final, where they will face either Ballymena United or Crusaders who meet at Seaview in the second semi-final on Wednesday.