BALLYMENA U 1 LINFIELD 4
Linfield restored their four-point lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a commanding 4-1 victory over Ballymena United at the Showgrounds.
Goals from Matt Tipton, Andy Waterworth, Billy Joe Burns and Aaron Burns saw the Blues extend their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions.
David Cushley bagged Ballymena’s consolation with a clinical volley.
Linfield took the lead after only four minutes following a howler from Dwayne Nelson.
Nelson could only fumble Billy Joe Burns’ driven free-kick, and Tipton nipped in to poke the ball home as the United keeper tried to recover.
On 38 minutes it was 2-0 when Waterworth dashed clear of the Ballymena defence before clipping his shot over the advancing Nelson.
Niall Quinn was denied by a combination of Nelson and the woodwork as Linfield almost made it 3-0 in first half stoppage time.
Ballymena responded two minutes after the break with Cushley unleashing an unstoppable volley from inside the box.
It was a brief riposte from Ballymena as Linfield regained their two-goal lead after 60 minutes - Billy Joe Burns heading home Waterworth’s pin-point cross.
Aaron Burns made it 4-1 six minutes later with a deflected shot that looped over Nelson’s head.
BALLYMENA: Nelson, Kane, McCullagh, Taylor, McBride (Stewart 76), Teggart (Robinson 69), Thompson, Jenkins, Cushley, Liggett (Dolan 69), McLellan.
Subs not used: Surgenor, Munster.
LINFIELD: Tuffey, Gault, Waterworth (McAllister 87), Carvill, BJ Burns, A. Burns, Ward, Tipton (McMenamin 87), Mulgrew, Glendinning, Quinn.
Subs not used: Lowry, Knowles, Ervin.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)