Matt Green makes telling impact for Linfield

Linfield striker Matt Green delivered a deadly quick-fire double to swat away the challenge of gutsy Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park on Saturday.

By Alex Mills
Monday, 1st November 2021, 6:00 am
Matt Green celebrates with Kirk Millar. Photo Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press
Matt Green celebrates with Kirk Millar. Photo Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press

The 34-year-old was only introduced to the action with 18 minutes remaining, replacing Jordan Stewart – much to the annoyance of the home faithful – but manager David Healy’s decision paid a huge dividend.

Just when the Blues appeared to be running out of ideas, Kirk Millar whipped in one of his trademark deliveries form the right and Green did the rest – that was on 81 minutes. And, the same two players combined five minutes later which resulted in a similar outcome.

At last, the home faithful had something to smile about. Up until that point, the Blues had only Matthew Clarke’s excellent early strike to show for their efforts against a side that that showed some lovely touches, but clearly lacked a killer instinct.

“That’s my first goals at Windsor Park, so they were special,” said Green. “My other goals were all away from home. More importantly, it helped the team get three points.

“That’s five for the season, so hopefully there are more to come. It’s been a tough week . . . we had a difficult match at Larne on Monday, so it was good to back that performance up with three points against Dungannon.

“It also means we extend our unbeaten run. Obviously, the morale in the group is good at the minute. We’ve got a really busy period now in November, so we must make sure we win by hook or by crook over the next few games.”

The former Grimsby Town man saluted the influence of Millar for his goals.

“Kirk is brilliant . . . he puts some great balls into the box,” he added. “We practice a lot in training, and it was only a matter of time before we got it right.

“We’ve a good understanding . . . I can read his technique pretty well. It always nice to get on and get a couple of goals.

“It’s my responsibility to score goals . . . everyone has a responsibility at this club. It’s important for any substitute to make a difference or to try and impact the game. It’s all about being positive.

“It probably wasn’t a great game to watch, but for the fans who stayed for the 90 minutes at least they left with a smile on their face with the late goals. It was a decent victory in the end.”

Dungannon chief Dean Shiels reckoned his boys were hard done by with the end result.

“Their first goal was a hand ball -- everyone stopped waiting for the whistle that didn’t come, it was a refereeing error that has cost us,” moaned Shiels.

“When you come to Windsor Park the first goal is always crucial, so it was hard for us to accept because we were right in the game.

“There was no way it was a three-nil game, I was delighted with the effort of our lads.

“This is a tough place to come, most teams sit back and park the bus, but we tried to be brave with a high press, our game plan was spot on.

“Up until their second goal, they didn’t have a shot. We began to take risks looking for an equaliser because we didn’t want to walk away patting ourselves on the back by losing one-nil . . . we wanted to get something from the game.

“Linfield have got quality to hurt you, but we matched them all over the park up until the last few minutes.”