Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Jake Dykes OG 54', Mark Stafford 88'
Dungannon Swifts Scorer :
Dougie Wilson 41'
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Dungannon Swifts Yellow Card :
Dungannon Swifts Red Card :
Seanan Clucas 64'
Linfield Team :
Roy Carroll (GK), Niall Quinn, Mark Stafford, Jimmy Callacher, Matthew Clarke, Jamie Mulgrew (C), Andrew Mitchell, Kirk Millar ( Jordan Stewart 75’), Joel Cooper, Daniel Kearns (Michael O’Connor 51’), Andy Waterworth
Linfield Subs not used :
J Smith, McGuinness, Moller Nielsen, Garrett, Fallon
Dungannon Swifts Team :
Niall Morgan (GK), Kris Lowe, Jake Dykes, Chris Hegarty, Jarlath O’Rourke, Alan Teggart, Seanan Clucas, Paul McElroy, Douglas Wilson (Corey McMullan 67’), Mark Patton (Johnny Lafferty 79’), Daniel Hughes (Grant Hutchinson 62’)
Dungannon Swifts Subs not used :
Coney (GK), Armstrong, Burke, Campbell
Linfield left it late to snatch victory at Stangmore Park as Mark Stafford netted an 88th minute winner to complete the comeback over Dungannon Swifts for a vital and hard-earned three points.
With Linfield loanee Alex Moore unavailable for selection between the sticks for the hosts and experienced keeper Stuart Addis injured for Dungannon, Kris Lindsay called upon 27 year-old Tyrone GAA goalkeeper Niall Morgan to step in.
Linfield defensive duo Chris Casement and Josh Robinson both missed out through injuries sustained in Tuesday night’s victory over Glentoran, meaning a recall for the reliable Mark Stafford, with Niall Quinn filling in at right back.
The first big chance fell for Linfield after ten minutes. Dungannon goalkeeper Niall Morgan did well to push away Waterworth’s flick before Jamie Mulgrew retrieved the ball, driving in from the left before firing a strike just wide of the outright.
Joel Cooper then forced another good save from the goalkeeper after a piece of brilliance to beat a defender on the left before firing a thunderous effort at goal, only to see it well beaten away. Mark Stafford also threatened, glancing a header just wide of the post from Kirk Millar’s corner.
The deadlock was broken four minutes before the break when Douglas Wilson looped a header into the far corner of the Linfield net from Mark Patton’s free-kick to head Dungannon in front.
Half Time: Dungannon Swifts 1 – 0 Linfield
David Healy changed things up at the break with a switch, temporarily going to a back three, allowing Niall Quinn to move into his natural role on the left side. Unfortunately, he was forced into a change six minutes into the second half with Daniel Kearns next to join Linfield’s lengthy injury list and Michael O’Connor was his replacement.
Linfield drew level on 54 minutes when Niall Quinn produced a tempting cross from his natural left sided position, and although Michael O’Connor couldn’t quite connect, Dungannon Swifts defender Jake Dykes could only turn the ball into his own net.
Seanan Clucas received his marching orders on 64 minutes when he picked up a second yellow card for a late foul on Andy Waterworth. The midfielder was booked just ten minutes beforehand for obstructing Roy Carroll’s kickout.
Roy Carroll denied the Swifts from retaking the lead with a strong arm to push Paul McElroy’s shot from the angle out for a corner ten minutes from time.
It looked like Linfield had to settle for a frustrating point, until Mark Stafford popped up in the Dungannon box to nod home the late winner. Matthew Clarke dinked in a cross and the returning Stafford nodded the ball into the corner to the joy of the large travelling Linfield support.
Joel Cooper almost added a third for Linfield in stoppage time when he fired into the side netting but the Blues will be happy to have found a way to win on a day when they weren’t at their best.
Full Time: Dungannon Swifts 1 – 2 Linfield