It took a wonder strike from Linfield’s Kirk Millar to secure the opening points of the season against Ballinamallard on Saturday.
Millar’s quick thinking first time effort from close to the half way line gave Linfield the narrowist of wins, after Ferney keeper James McGrath’s long clearance fell perfectly for him.
But the Blues had to work hard to secure the victory.
They opened the scoring after just eight minutes when Stephen Lowry rose high at the back post to head across goal and into the far corner.
But the Ferney Park side levelled on 28 minutes when debut boy Ryan McConnell brilliantly found the bottom corner with an bicycle kick which beat keeper Roy Carroll.
It was that goal though from Millar that sealed the points.
McGrath had come off his line to clear wide in the penalty box, but the effort only fell for Millar near the sideline and the halfway line to pump it straight back and with keeper McGrath stranded the ball fell beautifully into the empty net.
Linfield manager David Healy said it was always about the result.
“It’s not an easy place to come and we struggled here to beat them last season. To come down and get the three points, that’s the most important thing. It was a great fiinish by Kirk. He’s got a lot of individual ability and he proved that with the goal.”
“It was the first game of the season and it’s going to take time to bed in properly.”
Ballinamallard manager Gavin Dykes was disappointed that his side didn’t get anything out of the game.
“I was exceptionally proud of them. They are a new group. I was disappointed with the goals we gave away today. Overall I thought we deserved something out of it. There were a couple of half chances that we didn’t put away. It was a very encouraging second half. We are a new group and we will get better.”