David Healy celebrated his first year in charge at Linfield with a certain degree off panache!.
Any lingering memories of his team’s horrible midweek League Cup defeat at Ballymena were well and truly exorcised with this refreshing victory over Ballinamallard United at Windsor Park.
Striker Andy Waterworth bagged his first league goal of the season before Sammy Clingan broke his duck by ramming home a clever free kick. Big defender Mark Haughey and little Paul Smyth completed a good day at the office for the boys in blue.
Healy, 12 months into the job 24 hours earlier, is still craving his first trophy success, but his beaming smile at the finish suggested there is more to come. The Blues may have been dumped out of two cup competitions within a matter of four days, but they are now the only unbeaten team in the Danske Premiership.
In fact, they have an opportunity of taking over at the top, should they glean three points from tomorrow night’s showdown with Cliftonville at Solitude.
“I’m delighted with the win,” said Healy. “I demanded a response following the performance at Ballymena -- and I got it. For us to beat Ballinamallard the way we did was a huge positive.
“We dominated the game and my only little bit of criticism was we should have scored more, although I don’t want to be disrespectful to Gavin Dykes and Ballinamallard.
“We needed a performance like that after what happened in midweek. The result sets us up nicely for what will be another big test against Cliftonville. We have to go there with a right attitude and show the same passion, energy and commitment.”
Healy also couldn’t hide his delight when Waterworth ended his goal famine after only six minutes. He added: “I was delighted for him. His goal drought has been well documented."
Ballinamallard’s day of misery was complete when skipper James McKenna was stretchered off after sustaining an ankle injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
“It was a freak accident,” said boss Gavin Dykes. “His studs got stuck in the turf as he went to turn. The doctor said it didn’t look good.
“It wasn’t a great day for James or the club, although our season will not be judged on results against Linfield. We've a massive game with Portadown coming up next week."
Linfield: Carroll Clingan, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (Burns 75), M Clarke, Casement (Ward 70), Mulgrew, Quinn, R Clarke (Millar 63), Smyth.
Unused subs: Bright, Carson.
Ballinamallard United: McGrath, McMenamin, Tahney, McGinty, McKenna (Armstrong 45), Lafferty, McConnel, Lecky (McIlwaine 67), Mayse, Frempong, Elliott (Owens 19). Unused subs: McCluskey, Feeney.
Referee: M Spiteri (Malta).