PORTADOWN 3 LINFIELD 0
Linfield, razor-sharp from their four European matches – should have strolled this one against a suspension-hit Portadown. They failed miserably.
The Ports – with no fewer than five yellow card victims in the watching from the sidelines – played superbly, with the 3-0 scoreline perfectly reflecting their superiority.
New Blues boss Warren Feeney was pragmatic enough to admit his team’s shortcomings. “This isn’t the display you expect from a Linfield team,” he said. “Too many simply didn’t turn up. I’ll expect much better at the Oval on Wednesday night.
“Hopefully, this is just a blip on the way to better things. I gave them a few home truths after the match. We did well in Europe, but this is a different scenario. A walk-up call.”
Experienced Ronnie McFall in the Ports camp kept his feet on the ground. “I had to make several changes,” he said. “The players who filled in were excellent. But we won’t get carried away. There are 35 league games to go.”
Ports’ hero was two-goal Gary Twigg, with a brilliant ground shot on 34 minutes from 20 yards which beat keeper Johnny Tuffey all ends up.
The second was on 56 minutes from close-in after awful defending saw the ball come in from the right and the Blues back-line presenting the Scot with a chance he couldn’t miss.
Things went from bad to worse when Sean Ward turned a Ross Redman cross into own net after great work by Sean Mackle and McMahon.