Linfield stay top after battling victory at Portadown

Linfield's Andrew Waterworth scores against Portadown
Linfield's Andrew Waterworth scores against Portadown


It was the Philip Lowry-Andy Waterworth Show as Linfield kept their noses in front in the hectic race for the Danske Irish League title.

Lowry was the brilliant provider and Waterworth the cynical finisher in a close win that kept them ahead of Cliftonville and put the brake on the Ports’ bid for third place and a spot in Europe next season.

It took just 25 seconds for the Blues’ double-act to send their 1,000 fans into raptures. Lowry sliced through a dormant, makeshift Shamrock Park rearguard, only to see his well-placed shot strike an upright, but Waterworth followed in for the easiest tap-in he’ll net all season.

Determined Portadown refused to let it rattle them, and – assisted by a driving wind – hit the goal of the match three minutes from the break, courtesy of the right boot of Sean Mackle. He ran onto

an over-the-top pass from Chris Casement and fairly leathered into the top corner, giving Johnny Tuffey no mission as it flew into the top corner.

With the wind behind them, Linfield pressed like the Dickens for the winner, and after that man Lowry shuddered the bar with a stern header, came Waterworth’s worthy winner.

Ports’ midfielder Neil McCafferty gave away a needless free-kick, Aaron Burns floated it to the far post, Lowry headed it into the danger area and Waterworth swooped to seal the game.

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, Casement, Traynor, Mackle, Mouncey, McCafferty, Rooney (McStay 46m), Twigg, Murray. Subs not used: Brennan, McStay, Barton, Conaty, Skelton.

LINFIELD: Tuffey, BJ Burns, Ward, Haughey, Quinn, Mulgrew, Lowry (Carvill 83m), Mulgrew, A Burns, Waterworth, McAllister. Subs not used: Callacher, Carvill, Tipton, Glendinning, Clarke.

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)