Michael Carvill and Niall Quinn were the men to thank for Linfield as they eventually got their first three points of the league season with a 2-0 victory over Warrenpoint Town at Stangmore Park.
Second half strikes from the duo were enough to claim the win for David Jeffrey’s men.
In an opening to the match where clear cut chances were few and far between, it was Barry Gray’s Premiership news boys who were the better side in the early exchanges without ever truly cutting the Linfield defence open until the latter stages of the half.
Timmy Grant’s clever half-volley without the outside of his right foot nearly caught Linfield keeper Jonny Tuffey off guard but it crept wide of the right hand post in the tenth minute.
At the other end, Liam Bagnall had to be alert to prevent Michael Carvill from getting his shot away a minute later.
Warrenpoint upped the ante and started to use their attacking pace to get in behind the Blues defence.
Sean Ward steered a header away from Stephen Hughes after Stephen Moan’s cross from the right on 27 minutes before Hughes then just failed to get a touch of a cross from former Northern Ireland Under-21 international Bagnall two minutes later.
Warrenpoint could an possibly should have gone in front with two chances in the space of a minute, the first of which saw Hughes set Ruairi Devlin scampering down the right but he could only drag his shot across the face of goal. Then, when Tuffey dropped Mark Hughes’ free kick from the left, Timmy Grant rifled the ball over the bar.
Linfield’s first real opportunity of the half arrived with eight minutes to go before the break when a strong tackle by James Knowles saw the ball run through to Mark McAlliser but, despite beating the offside trap, the striker couldn’t beat Warrenpoint keeper Jonny Parr who denied McAllister with an outstretched left hand.
However, it didn’t take long for David Jeffrey’s men to break the deadlock as they came out with all guns blazing after the restart.
Debutant Rodney Brown’s cross from the left on 46 minutes wasn’t cleared properly by the Warrenpoint defence and it fell to Knowles on the edge of the penalty area. His fierce low drive wasn’t held by Parr and Carvill reacted to crash the ball home into the roof of the net.
Stephen Hughes had a couple of chances either side of a superb clearance from Moan at the back post as debutant Rodney Brown looked certain to convert Carvill’s cross and put Linfield two to the good before the hour mark.
With Warrenpoint still very much in proceedings in the final quarter of the match, it was always going to need another goal for Linfield to make sure of all three points and it duly arrived with 11 minutes remaining.
A free kick was awarded 22 yards out dead centre of the goal and up stepped dead ball expert Quinn to curl his set piece in off the right hand post past the despairing dive of Parr.