Linfield hold on at Windsor to see off Ballymena United in BetMcLean League Cup Final at Windsor Park

Linfield's Andy Waterworth and Ballymena United's James Knowles
Linfield's Andy Waterworth and Ballymena United's James Knowles

Linfield 1 Ballymena United 0

Andy Waterworth's first half strike was enough to seal Linfield's BetMcLean League Cup victory over Ballymena United at Windsor Park on Saturday.

The striker scoring in the 15th minute to give the Blues their first League Cup success since 2008 - but how they held on against a rampant Sky Blues in the second half.

If Linfield were slightly the better side in the first half, Ballymena bossed the second 45 minutes and on another day they would have beaten the Blues out of sight such was their dominance

United had the first chance of the game in the seventh minute as James Knowles shot was deflected off a Linfield defender and hit the post to go for a corner kick.

Both sides started brightly with each team trying to gain the upper hand in the opening exchanges.

It was the Blues who took the lead in the 15th minute as Andrew Waterworth turned his marker to shoot low past United keeper Ross Glendinning. It was a quality finish from the Blues striker.

United's Jim Ervin was lucky only to get a yellow card after a nasty tackle on Mulgrew. Ervin was then pushed over by Niall Quinn which started a melee. Both Ervin and Quinn were booked and the game ended 1-0 to the Blues at the break.

In the 52nd minute tried his luck from outside the box and Linfield keeper Gareth Deane had to push away the effort.

United's Friel had a great chance moments later but he missed from close range for David Jeffrey's side. It was a chance missed but the Sky Blues had started the second half well.

McCullough then had a header from a throw-in in the 57th minute but Deane gathered.

United were pushing the pace but there was always a worry for the Sky Blues that Linfield would grab their second to leave United with a mountain to climb.

United had another chance in the 66th minute. And McGrory's cross found Friel and his header was pushed over the bar by Deane,

It was all United as we entered the last ten minutes but they needed to find an equaliser if they were to get anything from this final.

Linfield were defending in numbers and seemed content to sit on their 1-0 advantage.

United threw on Jonathan McMurray will 16 minutes to go and could he find a way past the Linfield defence.

Andy McGrory then had a chance for United but he shot wide when well placed.

Tony Kane then had a chance with twn minutes to go. His shot beat Deane but not the crossbar.

United pushed and pushed in the minutes but the Blues stuck to their task and won their first League Cup since 2008.

LINFIELD: Deane, Robinson, Callacher, Waterworth, Stewart (O'Connor 76mins), Millar, Clarke, McClean, Mulgrew, Quinn, Casement.

Subs not used: Mitchell, Stafford, McGivern, Forde, Kearns, Cervenka.

BALLYMENA: Glendinning, Addis, Friel, Knowles (Kane 45mins), McCullough, McGrory (Shevlin, Balmer, Winchester (McMurray 74mins), Ervin, Lecky, Millar.

Subs not used: McDermott, Quigley, Whiteside, Faulkner,.

Referee: Andrew Davey.