Linfield 4 Ballymena Utd 1
Striker Andy Waterworth toasted his Premiership debut for Linfield by bagging a classy hat-trick against Ballymena United.
Waterworth struck twice in the first half and added a penalty in the second period to help seal a 4-1 victory at Windsor Park.
Rodney Brown got Linfield’s fourth with Ballymena - who had captain Allan Jenkins sent off - replying with a goal from Gary Liggett.
Waterworth broke the deadlock when he headed home Jamie Mulgrew’s cross in the 10th minute.
He made it 2-0 nine minutes later with a simple tap-in after some good work from Michael Carvill.
Substitute Liggett reduced the arrears six minutes after the break with a first-time effort before Waterworth completed his hat-trick from the spot.
The Blues striker was tripped inside the box by Dwayne Nelson and stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick.
In the aftermath Ballymena captain Allan Jenkins was red carded for dissent.
Brown completed the scoring with a close-range finish when Nelson couldn’t stop Brian McCaul’s cross.
LINFIELD: Tuffey, McVey, Gault, Waterworth (McCaul 80), Carvill, BJ Burns, A Burns (Brown 74), Ward, Mulgrew, McAllister (Thompson 76), Quinn.
Subs not used: Knowles, Glendinning.
BALLYMENA: Nelson, Kane, McCullagh, Taylor, Ruddy, Thompson, Taggart (Lowry 36), Jenkins, Davidson (Liggett 46), McLellan (Cushley 66), Teggart.
Subs not used: Dolan, Munster.
Referee: Hugh Carvill (Belfast)