19th December 2020
Irish Premier League
Linfield Scorers :
Andy Waterworth 66', Shayne Lavery 72', Jimmy Callacher 76', 85'
Linfield Yellow Card :
Dungannon Swifts Yellow Card :
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Conor Pepper, Jimmy Callacher, Mark Stafford, Matthew Clarke, Niall Quinn (Jordan Stewart 60’), Kyle McClean (Bastien Hery 74’), Jamie Mulgrew (C), Kirk Millar, Andy Waterworth (Daniel Kearns 77’), Shayne Lavery
Linfield Subs not used :
David Walsh (GK), Ross Larkin, Mark Stafford, Navid Nasseri
Dungannon Swifts Team :
Sam Johnston (GK), Caolin Coyle, Dylan King (Shane McGinty 23’), Callum Byers, Alan Teggart, Rhyss Campbell (James Teelan 88’), Oisin Smyth, Kris Lowe ©, Mark Patton, Michael Carvill, Lorcan Forde (Ben Gallagher 77’)
Linfield ended 2020 in the best possible way with three points in home victory over Dungannon Swifts – but they had to be patient against a strong defensive unit and although The Blues dominated the ball, the game wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest.
The biggest chance of the first half came for Niall Quinn. Linfield played a patient passing game before Jamie Mulgrew slipped it to Matthew Clarke who had space to attack in the box, before he slipped it back to Niall Quinn who sidefooted just wide from 12 yards out but will be disappointed not to have scored.
Shayne Lavery was unlucky when he latched onto a loose ball when a defender intercepted a great attempted through ball by Jamie Mulgrew in search of Andy Waterworth. Lavery pounced upon it with an opportunist attempt with a first time volley from around 20 yards which flew not far wide. The striker also threatened closer to the end of the first half when another neat move ended with him flicking the ball marginally wide of the post.
Jamie Mulgrew also drew a good save from Dungannon goalkeeper Sam Johnston who dived to clutch a 25 yard curler in full flight, and he was again asked a question when Kirk Millar’s delivery had to be punched away from a populated penalty area. In the main, however, Linfield will be disappointed that he only had one shot to save in a frustarting opening 45 where the dominated the ball but didn’t use it productively enough. Dungannon looked to break when the opportunity arose but the only time the returning Chris Johns was called into action was when he saved a 25 yard free-kick from winger Mark Patton.
Half Time: Linfield 0 – 0 Dungannon Swifts
Linfield searched and probed ways to try and find a breakthrough, before it eventually arrived on 66 minutes and it changed the game. Jimmy Callacher was up to attack a Linfield corner which wasn’t cleared and Shayne Lavery slipped the ball left to him and the big defender put in a delighted cross to the back post for the grateful Andy Waterworth who was in the right place as ever to head home from close range for his seventh goal of the season.
That opening goal was significant in many ways. You could sense that the shackles were off and Dungannon had to change their gameplan after going behind. Linfield really kicked on and it led to a goal flurry. The second goal arrived six minutes later and what a fine goal it was. Jordan Stewart got the ball on the halfway line and both the vision and technique to play Shayne Lavery through were both pure class. Lavery’s first and second touches were on the money to take him from the inside left channel into the box and his pace was typically devastating, with a finish beyond Sam Johnston to match, inside the far corner.
And just four minutes after that Linfield added a third goal. Kirk Millar put in a typically pinpoint corner delivery and Jimmy Callacher – the best attacker of a set-piece delivery in the country – nodded home with precision.
Nine minutes after that, Linfield went four goals up with a goal which was a carbon copy to the third. Kirk Millar put in another great corner and Jimmy Callacher ghosted in and stooped to nod in his fourth goal of the season, rounding off the scoring as Linfield bounced back from last week’s defeat in Larne. Normally, the Irish League would be gearing up for the crunch festive period which includes the traditional Boxing Day derby fixtures across the leagues, but due to restrictions placed by the NI Executive in regards means Linfield will now not play again until early January as it stands.
Full Time: Linfield 4 – 0 Dungannon Swifts
LinfieldFC.com Man of the Match: Jimmy Callacher