The day that the Bluemen cried !
08-04-00-GLENTORAN 3 Linfield 2
Newly crowned League Champions Linfield were given a guard of honour by the Glentoran players before kick-off - a gesture Linfield afforded the Glens last season prior to the League Cup Final - but that's where the friendly gestures ended.
Glentoran were playing the League Champions but felt confident being the only team to have beaten Linfield more than once this season.
These matches are often a tense affair but it was very lively from the start and after the first minute the first yellow card was received, when Brian Russell went in with a late tackle on Linfield goalkeeper Paul Mathers.
The action continued with both teams trying to dominate and stamp their authority on the game in the early stages with both the Glens and Linfield having chances, Linfield however started
to dominate and following a free kick on the left hand side Lamour was allowed to ghost in at the near post to flick the ball into to
the opposite corner and it was 1 -0 to Linfield
Following Linfield's goal Glentoran now surged back into the game and started to pressurise the Linfield goal, half
time was approaching and how vital a goal would be at this stage.
Glentoran again going forward and already in first half injury time received a free kick on the edge of the box.
Stuart Elliott, and Rory Hamill waited patiently as the Linfield wall was built, then the ball was touched to Hamill and bang, it cannoned into the net
off the underside of the cross bar and it was 1-1, immediately after the restart it was half time and the
loudest cheer came from the thousands of Glenmen in the North Stand
Surely with the boost received from scoring that goal in first half injury time the Glens would
come out all guns blazing. They did ! with just seven minutes of the second half gone Glentoran took the lead,
A left wing cross was blasted across the face of the goal by Hamill and was played back to the far post and with Russell and Elliott waiting it was simply blasted home from four yards by Elliot.
Following the goal the Glens continued to exert pressure on Linfield but with 20 minutes to go Linfield
started to get the better of the game, Gorman came close on 70 minutes, but his efforts from 16 and 10 yards were both well saved.
Then came the miss of the game.
A McDonald cross from the right was headed down by Ferguson, the ball fell to Morgan who, with an open goal at his mercy, managed to put the ball over from six yards.
The Glens were being pinned down in their own half but managed to break on several occassions and with eleven minutes of normal time remaining, Mathers tipped a 10 yard header over the bar.
It was now constant Linfield pressure and you felt that it was just a matter of time before they equalised.
However with eight minutes to go Glenn Ferguson had a six yard effort saved on the line.
The Glens were defending resolutely and then on 84mins, Morgan seemed to fall over in the box but with his reputation the appeal was waved away.
Time was running out for Linfield and it was now into injury time, the Linfield keeper Mathers had required treatment and several others
had been injured so a substantial amount of time would be added.
With the game into 92mins of injury time some Linfield fans were leaving in despair, now Linfield had
thrown Murphy the centre half up as a centre forward in desperation for an equaliser. They got it !
On 93 minutes Linfield were level the ball was cleared into midfield by Linfield found Gorman on the right wing and he fired
a cross into the box and Murphy met it to give Alan Gough no chance. Unbelieveable the Glens
had held out under severe pressure only to concede a goal which was surely the last of the game
The Linfield fans went absolutely ballistic and the Linfield bench with Jeffery on it were the same as Murphy raced
down the pitch infront of the South Stand. The Linfield fans raced back into the stadium hearing the roar
and seeing Murphy running down the pitch in celebration started to sing your not singing any more '
SURELY THE MATCH WAS NOW OVER FOR THE GLENS !
IT WAS NOT !!!!!
From the restart the ball was given to Nixon and seeing that Kennedy was free he switched it to the left side,
Hamill made a run down the left and Kennedy fed Hamill, he directed a pinpoint cross to Armstrong who headed in from all
of two yards
THE ROAR FROM THE NORTH STAND COULD BE HEARED
BACK IN EAST BELFAST AS ARMSTRONG RACED OVER TO CELEBRATE A
96 MINUTE WINNER.
The Linfield fans that had been singing 'your not singing any more' were now silent
and heading for the exits, by the restart the cop stand was half empty as the Bluemen flooded
out of the ground. The match restarted the ball was kicked up field and and it was over.
THE ROAR FROM THE NORTH STAND WAS THE SIGNAL THAT GLENTORAN HAD
The Glens were to go on and win the Irish Cup 1-0 against Portadown but it would be this match that
would be the highlight of the season and surely one of their finest ever victories over Linfield.