GLENTORAN 1 LINFIELD 2
Linfield enjoyed some festive cheer as they extended their lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a 2-1 victory over Glentoran.
Second half goals from Andy Waterworth and Aaron Burns saw the Blues record their first league win at the Oval since April, 2011.
David Scullion bagged Glentoran’s late consolation, with the home side also having Mark Clarke sent off in injury time.
The victory helps David Jeffrey’s side move six points clear at the top of the table going into the New Year - 13 ahead of the Glens who remain fifth.
Waterworth returned to haunt his former club with a clinical finish in the 49th minute.
Jason Hill felled Mark McAllister inside the box seven minutes later to gift the Blues a penalty - which Burns finished with aplomb.
Substitute Scullion forced home from close range in the 90th minute for the Glens with midfielder Clarke sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Jamie Mulgrew.
The Glens shaded the opening half without finding the net.
Jonny Tuffey was called into action to deny the onrushing Mark Miskimmin in the 11th minute - the keeper getting a leg onto the striker’s flicked shot.
From the resulting corner Jordan Stewart clipped the top of the crossbar with a teasing cross.
Marcus Kane forced Tuffey into another decent save in the 16th minute, the keeper palming away the long-range effort.
Two goals in the space of seven minutes put Linfield in the ascendancy at the start of the second half.
Former Oval favourite Waterworth struck first in the 49th minute.
Billy Joe Burns forged down the right before delivering a teasing cross into the middle which Waterworth connected with to force the save from Morris.
The ball rebounded to McAllister who took a touch before leaving it for Waterworth to fire home from an acute angle.
It was 2-0 in the 56th minute with Linfield being awarded a penalty after McAllister was felled by Hill inside the box.
Referee Raymond Crangle showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot, with Burns blasting the resulting spot-kick high into the net.
Stewart had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 80th minute but could only drag his shot wide after being played through on goal.
The Glens did pull one back in the 90th minute with substitute Scullion on target.
Stewart’s curling free-kick rattled off the inside of Tuffey’s post, and Scullion was on hand to force home from five yards.
There was still time for Glens midfielder Clarke to see red with a grandstand finish ensuing, but the Blues held on for a massive victory.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Bradley (Scullion 70), Hill, Magee, Clarke, McAlorum (Henderson 82), Addis, Boyd, Miskimmin (O’Hanlon 76), Stewart, Kane.
Subs not used: Garrett, McGuigan.
LINFIELD: Tuffey, Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, Carvill, BJ Burns, A. Burns (McCaul 83), Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew, McAllister.
Subs not used: McVey, Knowles, Tipton, Glendinning.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)