Matchday 29 in the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership sees a top of the table clash as league leaders Linfield entertain second placed Ballymena United FC at Windsor Park (3pm ko). The teams have already shared the points in two league games with both teams winning home fixtures by the same 2-1 scoreline. In cup competitions Linfield have fared better with wins in both the CAS (2-1) and in the League Cup Final (1-0).
The Linfield trophy cabinet was once again open for business after last weekend's hard earned League Cup Final victory (1-0) over Ballymena United at Windsor Park. The Blues edged the first half grabbing the lead on the quarter hour mark when Andy Waterworth fired home his 24th goal of the campaign. But just before the interval break the tone of the game changed dramatically when Jamie Mulgrew was upended by Ballymena's Jim Ervin, sparking a melee involving most of the players. In the second half Ballymena pushed forward to put a resolute Linfield defence under sustained periods of pressure. But a lack of clinical finishing in the box was to prove costly for the Sky Blues who were unable to find a goal to take the game into extra time. In the post match interviews, a very disappointed David Jeffrey remained gracious in defeat, but clearly still baffled by his team's lack of composure in front of goal. For the Linfield supporters, players and staff though, it was time to celebrate a record tenth League Cup Final victory!
On Saturday Ballymena make a quick return to Windsor sitting well placed in the league just six points behind Linfield with a game in hand. A win for either side would be a massive boost ahead of some big games over the next few weeks. With so much at stake it would be no surprise to see a tense, cagey game unfold. An early first goal would certainly open up the game as a spectacle for the large numbers of supporters expected to attend. An important afternoon of football awaits in what is the Premiership match of the day! COYB!