Ten-man Linfield grab crucial win over Ballymena United
Two first half goals secured a hard-fought 2-1 win for Linfield at Ballymena United and helped them cut the gap on leaders Coleraine to five points.
Kirk Millar and Ryan McGivern netted for the Blues before Adam Lecky cut their lead in th e run up to half time.
David Healy’s men were reduced to ten men late on after Bastien Hery was sent off but they held on for the win. The Blues made the perfect start at The Showgrounds as they edged in front inside 11 minutes.
Some excellent play by Shayne Lavery saw the front man beat his man and race into the box before drilling a low cross for Millar to fire home from close range.
The visitors were well on top with a dangerous Joel Cooper cross cleared away with Andy Waterworth lurking, before the wide man drilled a shot just past the upright on 26 minutes.
A minute later though Andy McGrory’s cross-cum-shot flashed across the face of the Linfield goal.
On the half hour Cooper almost scored a superb solo effort after he picked the ball up from a Ballymena corner, he raced clear, beating Jim Ervin, but he fired his shot over the bar.
The second goal did arrive eight minutes before the break when McGivern headed home Millar’s corner.
But the Sky Blues reduced the deficit two minutes later when Adam Lecky beat the offside trap and fired past Ferguson.
The hosts should have levelled things up ten minutes after the break when Tony Kane picked out Declan Carville, but he failed to connect with the cross.
Jamie Mulgrew then forced a good save from Glendinning before Kenny Kane glanced a header wide at the other end.
Substitute Bastien Hery drew another good stop from the home keeper before Cooper fired over from the edge of the box as the game entered the closing stages.
Unfortunately for the Blues Hery picked up two yellow cards on quick succession leading to his dismissal, but Healy’s men held on to pick up the three points.