Linfield defeat Crusaders in Shield shoot-out

Linfield beat Crues in shoot-out to lift Co Antrim Shield

Jonathan Tuffey saved two penalties as Linfield beat Crusaders 4-1 in a shoot-out to win the Co Antrim Shield after a scoreless final in Ballymena.

Chances were few in a disappointing decider with Crues pair Josh Robinson and Jordan Owens going close with early headers from Nathan Hanley corners.

Aaron Burns headed wide as Linfield pressed in the second half.

Linfield prevailed in the shoot-out as David Jeffrey equalled the club record of winning 31 trophies as Blues boss.

Jeffrey, who will step down from the job at the end of the season, is now level with Roy Coyle but he will make it 32 if Linfield win the Premiership title.

It was a frenetic affair at the Showgrounds and the best chances came early in the game from Hanley corners.

Robinson's header was cleared off the line by BJ Burns before Owens was denied by a Tuffy save.

Blues striker Matthew Tipton failed to find the target from a close-range overhead kick before Philip Lowry saw his shot kept out by Sean O'Neill.

Linfield created all the second-half openings and Tipton flashed over seconds after the restart before BJ Burns volleyed over.

Aaron Burns squandered Linfield's clearest chance, meeting Jamie Mulgrew's deep cross but heading wide from six yards.

Substitute Mark McAllister had a shot blocked on the line as the Blues pushed for a late winner.

Aaron Burns fired wide in the first period of extra-time while Crusaders full-back Matthew King was also off-target.

Tuffey saved Paul Heatley's strike before going on to become Linfield's hero in the shoot-out.

Gary McCutcheon converted his spot-kick for the Crues but Tuffey denied Hanley and Eamonn McAllister.

Andy Waterworth, Aaron Burns, Michael Carvill and BJ Burns all found the net with their penalties.

"It's absolutely brilliant - we don't care how we won it, only that we won," said BJ Burns, who scored the winning penalty.

"Everyone held their nerve and thanks to Jonathan Tuffey we got there in the end."

Crusaders: O'Neill, King, Smith, Leeman, Magowan, Owens, Heatley, Snoddy, Caddell, Hanley, Robinson.

Linfield: Tuffey, BJ Burns, Quinn, Haughey, Ward, Mulgrew, Lowry, Gault, Sproule, Tipton, Waterworth.

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