IRISH LEAGUE: Linfield blast six past hapless Swifts in Windsor Park blitz

Linfield's Paul Smyth celebrates scoring against Dungannon Swifts.
Linfield's Paul Smyth celebrates scoring against Dungannon Swifts.

Linfield eased into second place in the Danske Bank Premiership with a commanding victory over Dungannon Swifts.

Defender Mark Stafford was on target twice and Michael McLellan scored his first goal for his new club as the Blues surged to a 6-0 win at Windsor Park.

Andy Waterworth, Paul Smyth and substitute Aaron Burns also found the net to keep David Healy’s side in the title mix.

The victory saw the Blues leapfrog Cliftonville in the table, and close to within six points of leaders Crusaders – albeit having played a game more – while Dungannon remain in 10th spot.

Three first-half goals had this game wrapped up for Linfield. The opener arrived in the 15th minute with Waterworth bagging his 24th of the season.

Matthew Clarke went on a meandering run into the Swifts box before the ball fell to Waterworth whose initial shot was blocked, and when the visitors failed to clear the danger the ball fell to Waterworth again who made no mistake with a low shot past Andy Coleman from 12 yards.

It was 2-0 less than four minutes later when Smyth robbed possession off Dermot McCaffrey wide on the right before rounding Coleman and firing into the net.

The game was over in the 38th minute when Linfield claimed their third goal of the night.

It came from Kirk Millar’s corner, and when Dungannon failed to deal with the delivery there was Stafford to force the ball home from close range.

Waterworth tested Coleman with a 30-yard belter in the 69th minute, the Dungannon goalkeeper doing well to tip the effort over.

And from the resulting corner substitute Burns headed Millar’s cross off the woodwork.

Linfield wouldn’t be denied, however, with Stafford claiming his second and the Blues’ fourth goal in the 80th minute, heading home from substitute Guy Bates’ cross.

Burns added a fifth in the 90th minute, coolly slotting past Coleman from 15 yards.

And McLellan made it 6-0 two minutes into added time.

LINFIELD: Ro. Glendinning, Stafford, Callacher, Waterworth (Bates 67), Millar, Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew (Burns 69), Re. Glendinning, Gaynor, Smyth (McLellan 76).

Subs not used: Kee, Quinn.

DUNGANNON: Coleman, Montgomery (Douglas 46), Burns, McCaffrey (Hazley 63), Wilson, Lowe, O’Rourke, Teggart, Harpur, Glackin, Mitchell (Liggett 73).

Subs not used: Fitzpatrick, Burke.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)