Linfield 2-4 Saints

Saints signed off on their pre-season trip to Northern Ireland with a _ against

Wearing their brand new yellow 2019/20 away kit and being led out by new club captain Jason Kerr, Saints hoped for a positive start to the match at Windsor Park but after just two minutes found themselves behind.

A rare error from 'keeper Zander Clark saw him pass straight to Shayne Lavery who had an empty net to slot the ball home and put the hosts 1-0 up.

Saints responded though and the lively Danny Swanson jinked into the Linfield box after five minutes before being fouled by the defender and the referee didn't hestitate to point to the spot.

The task of converting the spotkick was handed to Saints' Trialist striker - who scored in midweek against Glentoran - but the club's penalty woes continued as the Linfield 'keeper saved the effort.

The players continued to push for an equaliser and Richard Foster's fizzing cross on 12 minutes asked questions of the Linfield defence but the 'keeper just managed to tip it to safety before a yellow shirt could get on the end of it.

A Saints equaliser would come on 19 minutes though and it was a fantastic one at that.

The impressive Danny Swanson went on a superb run leaving two Linfield players in his wake before dinking the ball into the top right hand corner to level the scores.

After Matty Kennedy's injury on Wednesday night, manager Tommy Wright will now have concerns over Chris Kane after the striker limped off after 30 minutes to be replaced by Callum Hendry.

Wotherspoon had two chances before the break to put Saints in front but couldn't convert. The first coming after Scott Tanser's cross fell to him in the box but his left-footed shot was over the bar.

For the second opportunity, Wotherspoon danced his way through the Linfield defence with fantastic footwork but saw his effort brilliantly saved by the Linfield 'keeper meaning the sides went in level at the break.

Tommy Wright made eight changes at half-time with Elliot Parish, Wallace Duffy, Liam Gordon, Ross Callachan, Ali McCann, Kyle McClean, Michael O'Halloran and David McMillan all entering the action.

And Callum Hendry came closest first for Saints on 48 minutes as his curling effort from the edge of the area was only just over the crossbar.

As on Wednesday night Saints enjoyed most of the possession but struggled to create much in the way of chances in the early part of the half.

On 63 minutes, Kyle McClean slipped through a lovely weighted through ball for David McMillan but the Irishman had just strayed offside although it looked like a close call.

And on 67 minutes he found him again. This time McMillan was onside but his effort was deflected into the arms of the Linfield 'keeper.

But Saints would take lead on 70 minutes from a set piece.

A well delivered corner from Kyle McClean found an unmarked Callum Hendry who bulleted a header straight into the back of the net.

Saints weren't done there and on 79 minutes it was 3-1. Scott Tanser had the ball near the corner flag on the left and fizzed a low ball into the box which was well controlled by Ali McCann and the young midfielder slotted home with great composure.

The scoring wasn't over as the hosts pulled one back through Locan Forde to make it 3-2 before Saints' new Club Captain marked his first appearance with the armband with a goal on 85 minutes.

It was another Kyle McClean delivery and it found the skipper's head unmarked on the six-yard-box as he nodded home past the 'keeper.

Saints almost added a third on 90 minutes through McMillan but it finished 4-2 as Tommy Wright's men ended their pre-season trip to Northern Ireland with a victory at Windsor Park.


SAINTS FIRST HALF XI: Clark, Foster, Tanser, Kerr (c), Anderson, Wotherspoon, Swanson, Craig, Davidson, Kane (Hendry 30), Trialist

SAINTS SECOND HALF XI: Parish, Duffy, Tanser, Kerr (c), Gordon, Callachan, McClean, McCann, O'Halloran, Hendry, McMillan

SCORERS: Swanson (19), Hendry (70), McCann (79), Kerr (85)