Leaders Linfield win to go four clear

Published Saturday, 18 January 2014
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Linfield stretched their lead at the top of the Irish Premiership to four points with a 2-1 victory over Ballymena on Saturday, as both of their nearest rivals failed to win.

Leaders Linfield win to go four clear
Phillip Lowry scores during the game at the Showgrounds. (© Pacemaker)

The Blues began the day just one point ahead of the chasing pack, and it looked as though that lead could be cut altogether when Alan Teggart fired in for the Sky Blues on the stroke of half-time.

However the complexion of the game changed six minutes after the restart when Ballymena defender Tony Kane was sent off for a second booking, and Phillip Lowry headed in the equaliser from an Andrew Waterworth cross in the 62nd minute.

The winner came just six minutes later when substitute Jamie Mulgrew reacted quickest to a blocked Michael Gault free kick and smashed the ball home from the edge of the area.

The afternoon got better for David Jeffrey's side with news that both Cliftonville and Crusaders had dropped points.

Second-placed Cliftonville suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Portadown at Solitude, with the Reds normally reliable strike pairing of Joe Gormley and Liam Boyce having a rare off-day in front of goal.

Portadown duly capitalised, with Gary Twigg meeting Darren Murray's delivery with a close-range finish in the 66th minute to seal their second league victory of the season against Tommy Breslin's side.

In the game at Milltown Crusaders slipped eight points off the pace after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Warrenpoint Town.

The Crues took an early lead through Paul Heatley's fifth minute strike, and the game looked over when Warrenpoint were reduced to ten men soon after the restart.

Darren King received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the 54th minute, but the hosts rallied well and got their reward in the 68th minute when Marty Haveron fired a superb curtling effort past Sean O'Neill.

In the game at the Oval, Glentoran came from behind to secure a point with a 1-1 draw against Coleraine.

The Bannsiders took the lead in the 12th minute when David McDaid controlled a Gareth Tommins cross before teeing up Ruairi Harkin to lash the ball into the bottom corner.

However Eddie Patterson's side battled back into the contest and equalised when Aaron Boyd reacted quickest to the rebound after Curtis Allen's shot came back off the post.

Elsewhere Glenavon returned to winning ways in the league after two straight league defeats with a 2-1 win away to Ballinamallard United.

Gary Hamilton's side took the lead in the third minute when new signing Tiarnan Mulvenna Steering in a header from Kyle Neill's corner, but the Mallards replied when captain Mark Stafford netted with a header of his own in the 31st minute.

The sides looked to be heading for a draw until Mark Patton got a foot onto David Kee's searching free kick and steered the ball past Alvin Rouse in the Ballinamallard goal to seal the victory.

Finally Dungannon Swifts came from behind to secure a 3-1 win over basement side Ards at Clandeboye Park.

The game kicked off at 5.30pm in order to accommodate a fixture involving Championship side Bangor, who are sharing their ground with Niall Currie's side, and the hosts went ahead in the 38th minute when Ross Arthurs set up Craig McMillen to fire past Gareth Buchanan.

The visitors were awarded a penalty soon after David Gibson brought down Mickey Hazley, only for Hazley to see his spot-kick saved by Alan Blayney.

However, the equaliser came six minutes into the second half through Mark Brolly's low drive, and took the lead when Gary Liggett converted a Jamie Tomelty cross from close range.

Liggett made sure of the win when Liggett steered the ball past the advancing Blayney with five minutes to seal a victory which leaves Ards nine points adrift at the bottom of the Irish Premiership table.


Danske Bank Premiership Results:

Ballinamallard United 1 - 2 Glenavon
Ballinamallard: Mark Stafford (31)
Glenavon: Tiarnan Mulvenna (3), Mark Patton (88)

Ballymena United 1 - 2 Linfield
Ballymena United: Alan Teggart (45)
Linfield: Philip Lowry (62), Jamie Mulgrew (68)

Cliftonville 0 - 1 Portadown
Portadown: Gary Twigg (66)

Glentoran 1 - 1 Coleraine
Glentoran: Aaron Boyd (56)
Coleraine: Ruairi Harkin (12)

Warrenpoint Town 1 - 1 Crusaders
Warrenpoint: Marty Havern (68)
Crusaders: Paul Heatley (5)

Ards 1 - 3 Dungannon Swifts
Ards: Craig McMillen (38)
Dungannon Swifts: Marc Brolly (51), Gary Liggett (66, 85)

© UTV News
Comments Comments
11 Comments
Davy in Shankill wrote (221 days ago):
Michael in Shankill. Time for sleep you say, yet you find time to comment on summit that does not interest you. Take it your another armchair cross water fan that never goes to a game. Over rated , over paid, divers, biters, moneygrabbers, walking off coaches into stadiums with their silly looking headphones on, thinking their God. You watch away Michael, enjoy....Leave us to what we like.
Michael in Shankill Road UK wrote (224 days ago):
Irish League ...... Time for a sleep
martin in belfast wrote (224 days ago):
The blues are definitely in the box seat, but they still have to play the reds twice more. These games could decide who will be champions.
bartman in belfast wrote (224 days ago):
Bad day at the office for the champs no doubt and unfortunately another comeback victory for the blues but with a dozen games still to play its not over yet. Expect linfield to pick up full points against poor Ards team so they,ll come to solitude 7 points clear and it becomes a must win game for us and if we do that then its game on. No denying all pressure on the champs but sure you wouldnt want it any other way U REDS
Solitude Soul in Whitehouse wrote (225 days ago):
In all honesty the reds can ill-afford anymore slip ups now that we are entering the business side of the season, i think the most optimistic of our support are feeling a bit tetchy we need to be more clinical in front of goal and stop trying to walk the ball into the net, anyhow onwards and upwards.
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