Linfield’s Champions League future will likely be determined at Windsor Park subsequent week, however supervisor David Healy will really feel final evening’s first qualifying spherical first leg tie in opposition to The New Saints at Park Corridor was an opportunity misplaced.
Although former Northern Eire Underneath-21 worldwide Ryan Brobbel’s second-half strike secured victory for Anthony Limbrick’s workforce, Healy and his boys will likely be licking their lips with anticipation on the prospect of the July 13 return fixture.
The winners of the two-legged affair will face both Bodo/Glimt (Norway) or KI (Faroe Islands) in spherical two, with the losers dropping into the Europa Convention League second spherical qualifiers with Malmo (Sweden) or Vikingur Reykjavik (Iceland) in wait.
Healy handed two of his summer time signings beginning slots, with Daniel Finlayson becoming in on the again and striker Robbie McDaid up entrance with Joel Cooper.
The Blues carved out the primary tangible opening after 22 minutes. Stevie Fallon produced a run from deep in his personal half earlier than releasing McDaid, solely to be flagged for offside.
The house workforce started to dominate the center of the park with Brobbel lashing over.
Seconds later, McDaid performed an awesome inter-change with skipper Jamie Mulgrew and the previous Leeds man’s cross was plucked off the toe of Cooper by goalkeeper Conor Roberts.
The Blues ought to have cast a breakthrough on 39 minutes. Cooper and Finlayson mixed on the correct just for Roberts to provide a marvel save to maintain out the ex-Oxford man’s effort.
Defender Matty Clarke’s follow-up header was hooked off the road by Danny Davis.
TNS bolted from the traps after the restart with Declan McManus lashing a drive over.
It was maybe no shock it was Brobbel who helped his workforce set up the lead on 56 minutes. He latched onto a go from McManus, jinked previous two defenders and his low drive left goalkeeper Chris Johns helpless.
McManus nearly punished the Blues once more however curled a beautiful effort simply excessive.
Healy realised he wanted contemporary legs in the course of the park, giving Kyle McClean the nod to exchange Mulgrew.
McDaid ought to have been celebrating a debut aim 16 minutes from time. For as soon as he managed to spring the TNS offside entice following a intelligent go from Cooper however did not beat Roberts.
With the clock ticking down, Clarke despatched substitute Jordan Stewart into the field and he compelled Roberts into one other save.
TNS had man-of-the-match Roberts to thank once more as he acquired all the way down to deny Fallon.
It was a case of so close to, but to this point for the Blues, however they’ll be assured of ending the job in entrance of their very own followers subsequent week.
THE NEW SAINTS: Roberts, D Davies, Okay Davies, Astles, Marriott, Routledge, Redmond, Smith, Williams (Cieslewicz 76), Brobbell, McManus.
Unused subs: Atherton, Pask, Daniels, Hudson, Clarke, Cannavan, Kirkman, Lock, Warder, Cornish.
LINFIELD: Johns, Finlayson, Corridor, Roscoe, M Clarke, Shields, Millar (Stewart 73), Mulgrew (McClean 67), Fallon, McDaid (McKee 77), Cooper.
Unused subs: Walsh, Newberry, Pepper, Palmer, A Clarke, Devine, Stewart, Archer, Williamson.
Referee: Andrei Florin Chivulete (Romania).
Man of the match: Conor Roberts.
Match ranking: 7/10