Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Andy Waterworth 26', 63'
Dungannon Swifts Scorer :
Daniel Hughes 25'
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Dungannon Swifts Yellow Cards :
McGinty, Coyle, Smyth
Linfield Team :
Rohan Ferguson (GK), Mark Haughey, Mark Stafford, Jimmy Callacher, Niall Quinn, Stephen Fallon, Kyle McClean, Kirk Millar, Joel Cooper, Rory Currie (Jordan Stewart 72’), Andy Waterworth
Linfield Subs not used :
Alex Moore (GK), Matthew Clarke, Ethan Boyle, Daniel Kearns, Bastien Hery, Matthew Shevlin
Dungannon Swifts Team :
Conor Byrne (GK), Caolin Coyle, Dylan King, Douglas Wilson © (Francis Brennan 76’), Alan Teggart, Kris Lowe, Caolan McAleer, Oisin Smyth, Shane McGinty (Guillaume Keke 70’), Rhyss Campbell (Mark Patton 75’), Daniel Hughes
Dungannon Swifts Subs not used :
Sam Johnston (GK), Ross Redman, James Convie, Terry Fitzpatrick
Linfield moved back to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a hard-fought victory in their game in hand with Dungannon Swifts this evening as Andy Waterworth scored a brace.
David Healy made no less than six changes to the team which lost to Larne at Inver Park last week. Striker Shayne Lavery missed out through a one-game suspension, whilst Ethan Boyle, Matthew Clarke, Josh Robinson, Bastien Hery and Jordan Stewart all dropped out of the starting eleven. Andy Waterworth returned from injury, whilst January signings Rory Currie and Kyle McClean made their first starts. Also introduced to the starting eleven was left back Niall Quinn and central defenders, Mark Stafford and Mark Haughey.
After being held to a frustrating goalless by Dungannon Swifts just a few weeks ago, David Healy knew what kind of game to expect, and as a result opted for an attacking 3-4-1-2 formation, knowing his side could dominate the ball.
It was Haughey who had Linfield’s first chance of the evening when he volleyed over from the edge of the box after the Swifts failed to clear a corner. The next chance fell for Kirk Millar. Midfielder Stephen Fallon surged into the box after exchanging passes with Rory Currie, Fallon then pulled the ball across the face of goal but it was slightly behind Millar who tried an ambitious rabona shot which flew just over.
It was Dungannon Swifts who took an unlikely lead, however. Rhyss Campbell put in a cross from the right flank which was retrieved by Kris Lowe, who showed great composure to slide the ball into the advanced Daniel Hughes and the striker fired a cool finish into the bottom corner from around ten yards out.
The Swifts’ lead lasted no longer than a minute as Linfield responded immediately from the kick-off. A long diagonal ball was misjudged by a Dungannon defender and the ball fell kindly for the instinctive Waterworth to fire clinically into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Linfield’s 21 year-old striker Rory Currie – on loan from Hearts – almost got off the mark before the break. Andy Waterworth put in a dangerous cross which wasn’t cleared and Currie won the second ball with a flicked backwards header which was well watched by the alert Conor Byrne in the visiting goal.
Half Time: Linfield 1 –1 Dungannon Swifts
The Blues created a good chance to take the lead just inside the second half but couldn’t take advantage. Joel Cooper played a neat pass through to Kirk Millar and the winger tried to lob the goalkeeper but got it wrong and fired over from 25 yards.
David Healy’s team went ahead on 63 minutes with a superb goal. Niall Quinn fizzed in a cross from the right after his corner was recycled back out by Cooper and Andy Waterworth produced a truly fantastic finish to find the net with a looping header. The striker was around 15 yards out and the angle was improbable – but this is a man who has excelled in scoring goals throughout his career and sometimes all he needs is a sniff.
It was very nearly 3-1 15 minutes from time when Mark Stafford powered in to get great purchase on a header from Niall Quinn’s corner but it was somehow kept out. The goalkeeper appeared to make a great save and then the ball was scrambled clear with Jimmy Callacher ready to pounce on the goal line.
Jordan Stewart was next to go close when he twisted and turned at will, leaving defenders dizzy to create room for a shot on the edge of the box but his wicked curling effort whistled just past the top corner.
Dungannon threatened to draw level on the break after a great surging run through the middle by Caolan McAleer from a Linfield corner. The winger slipped it across to Mark Patton whose low driven shot on his left foot was well held by Rohan Ferguson.
Full Time: Linfield 2 – 1 Dungannon Swifts
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Andy Waterworth