IRISH LEAGUE: Healy’s Linfield go top after seeing off Warrenpoint Town

Linfield's Aaron Burn scores
Linfield's Aaron Burn scores

Linfield moved top of the Danske Bank Premiership - for just under 24 hours at least - after they eventually saw off a stubborn Warrenpoint side at Milltown on Friday night.

Having been pegged back to go in level at the break, David Healy’s side found the net three times in the second half to take a well-deserved three points in the end.

Having been pegged back to go in level at the break, David Healy’s side found the net three times in the second half to take a well-deserved three points in the end.

Despite having the bulk of the possession throughout the first half, Linfield were met by a stubborn Town rearguard that looked much improved on recent outing where they have conceded repeatedly from set-pieces.

Kirk Millar, who had been lively throughout the first period down the right hand side, fired another decent ball in from that flank and Aaron Burns was on hand to sweep it home from eight yards out to make it 1-0.

They almost doubled that lead five minutes later when Louis Rooney made his way from right to left across the Warrenpoint penalty area before cutting back onto his right foot and firing in a shot that produced a superb full-length diving save, low to his left, from Blayney to deny his former club a second goal.

The hosts then equalised hugely against the run of play straight after that Rooney opportunity, with a goal that seemed to take everyone in the ground by surprise, not least Linfield keeper Roy Carroll.

Sean Mackle fed the bal through to Martin Murray midway inside the Linfield half on the left and the winger got Chris Casement backpedalling, Murray curled an effort from 20 yards that began outside of the right hand post, and while Carroll like everyone else, seemed to think it was going wide, the ball went in off the inside of the right hand post.

It was Linfield who regained their lead three minutes before the hour from the penalty spot.

Seanna Foster was adjudged to have fouled Mulgrew in the box, and although the ‘Point bench was furious with the decision by Maltesee Referee Glen Tonna, Rooney stepped up to send Blayney the wrong way from the spot to make it 2-1.

The result was put beyond doubt 15 minutes from time as Rooney got his second of the night that owed much to a goalkeeping mistake from Blayney as anything else.

Millar’s header forward looked to be going straight to the keeper but, under pressure from Rooney, he let the ball squirm through and the Northern Ireland Under-21 international had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into the empty net.

The gloss was put on the result three minutes from time when Stafford sidefooted home from point blank range after Niall Quinn’s low ball had evaded everybody inside the six-yard box.

Warrenpoint Town: Blayney 6, Foster 6 (Roohi 83), Wallace 7, Lyttle 7, Reilly 7, TJ Murray 5, McCafferty 5 (McMenamin 74), Mackle 6, M Murray 7, S Murray 5, Forde 6

Subs not used: Moan, Lynch, Roohi, Turker

Linfield: Carroll 6, Casement 6, Quinn 6, Haughey 7, Stafford 6, Garrett 6, Mulgrew 7, Millar 8, J Stewart 6 (Mitchell 82), Rooney 7 (Adams 87), Burns 6 (R Clarke 45)

Subs not used: C Stewart, Callacher

Referee: Glen Tonna (Malta)