Andy Waterworth’s family tribute after hat-trick joy for Linfield

Andy Waterworth celebrating on Saturday against Carrick Rangers. Pic by Pacemaker.Andy Waterworth celebrating on Saturday against Carrick Rangers. Pic by Pacemaker.
Andy Waterworth celebrating on Saturday against Carrick Rangers. Pic by Pacemaker.
Striker Andy Waterworth may have walked away from Windsor Park on Saturday with the match ball – but he was still agonising over the chances that got away!

The big 34-year-old again demonstrated he is one of the most lethal front men around by helping the Blues get their Danske Bank Premiership title defence off to the best possible start in a 5-1 win over Carrick Rangers.

He punished Carrick Rangers twice within the opening 13 minutes – both supplied by precision deliveries from new boy Conor Pepper.

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Niall Currie’s boys, to their credit, bravely got a foothold in the game and were handed a lifeline midway through the first half when goalkeeper Chris Johns needlessly sent Alex Gawn tumbling inside the box.

Referee Tony Clarke had no hesitation in awarding a penalty kick, which was expertly dispatched by defender Caolan Loughran.

But the floodgates opened when Carrick skipper Mark Surgenor was dismissed 10 minutes after the restart.

Jimmy Callacher wasted no time in tapping home the Blues’ third of the day before substitute Ryan McGivern powered in a Niall Quinn cross.

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Waterworth completed the goal rush when he got his head to a Navid Nasseri cross.

“I lost my auntie Ann on Tuesday, she was a big part of our lives, so I dedicate my hat-trick to her,” said Waterworth. “She was my mum’s sister, so I think she was looking down on me.

“It was important we started off with a win, it was a good team performance, we started off well and were dangerous when we worked the ball wide.

“At times we were really impressive, but there were times we were a little bit complacent, but we know what we’ve got to do to get that right.

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“We are good when we keep the ball and play through the thirds.

“Carrick are tough to play against, but we gave them the chance to grow into the game.

“We worked hard to establish the early lead and, I don’t know whether a few of us switched off or not, it’s something we must rectify going forward as we can’t afford to do that because teams will hurt us.

“We know Carrick are troublesome from set-pieces, so we tried to limit that.

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“We were particularly dominant down the right with Kirk (Millar) and Pep (Conor Pepper).”

Although he was happy with his treble, Waterworth reckons there were a few goals that got away.

“I need to be a bit more ruthless...maybe show a bit more conviction in front of goal,” he added. “I almost scored with a header before I got my third only Hoggie (Aaron Hogg) pulled off a great save.

“Over the past couple of games, I think I’ve been trying too hard to score goals, I was a little bit more patient against Carrick.

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“When Nav (Nasseri) cut down the left from my third goal, I would usually have been busting to get into the six-yard box but I instead hung back and, when the ball came in, I tried to direct away Hoggie as much as I could.

“The first two goals were really well worked by Kirk and Conor...Conor played the ball exactly where it needed to be for my second.

“The fans haven’t seen any action at Windsor for a long time, so we wanted to put on a bit of a show.”


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