Linfield 6 Donegal Celtic 2
Linfield’s incredible form in front of goal continued last night after the champions destroyed 10-man Donegal Celtic.
This 6-2 hammering of the Carling Premiership’s bottom side meant the Blues have now bagged 35 goals in their last seven outings.
They remain five points clear at the top of the table but at this rate, it is difficult to see how that gap is going to be pulled back — even at this early stage of the title race.
The basement boys didn’t exactly help their own cause however, when Stephen McAlorum was sent off after only nine minutes for a stamp on Michael Gault and Hoops boss Paddy Kelly followed his skipper down the tunnel seconds later after pushing fourth official, Keith Halliday during chaotic scenes.
The match exploded into life almost immediately — not all of showing the best side of the game.
Hoops striker, and talisman, Paul McVeigh came within a whisker of stunning the champions on three minutes when he ghosted in at the back post after Ciaran Cargan’s floated free-kick but he was unable to make contact from close range.
A minute later, the action took centre stage at the other end of the pitch when the Blues opened the scoring, thanks to top scorer, Peter Thompson.
The former Northern Ireland international, who has mastered the art of being in the right place at the right time, showed his prowess yet again by bundling the ball past Declan Brown after Jim Ervin was given the freedom of Windsor Park before cutting the ball back to the hitman.
Is if that wasn’t bad enough for DC, their frustration got the better of them were reduced to 10 men on nine minutes when skipper Stephen McAlorum walked for a stamp on Michael Gault.
McAlorum was involved in a crunching challenge with the Blues midfielder but the stamp wasn’t spotted by referee Raymond Crangle although he flashed the red card when he was alerted to the incident by his assistant and fourth official.
Que mayhem; DC players surrounded Crangle to vent their anger and Hoops boss Paddy Kelly became involved in a heated exchange with Keith Halliday before pushing the fourth official and he was promptly ordered off the field.
The scenes were chaotic and Kelly almost certainly faces a lengthy ban.
When attention finally went back to the contest, Curtis Allen curled a fantastic strike into the top corner from 16 yards to double the home side’s advantage on 27 minutes.
Six minutes later it was three; Gault releasing Player of the Month Robert Garrett who cut inside the box before picking his spot from 15 yards.
It was all too easy for the Blues — or was it? Gargan hit back with the goal of the night — a thumping half volley from the edge of the box — after Alan Blayney’s weak punch.
Just when they thought they were back in with a glimmer of hope, it was snatched away when their keeper, Brown, also blundered — spilling Allen’s hopeful cross into the path of Thompson who duly slotted home his 17th goal of the season.
A quick-fire double from Allen and Mark McAllister gave the Blues a a five-goal cushion before substitute Declan O’Hara’s late consolation for the chastened Donegal Celtic.
LINFIELD: Blayney, Ervin, Casement, Armstrong, Burns, Allen (M Carvill 74), Garrett, Gault (Mulgrew 62), D Curran, McAllister, Thompson (Munster 71). Subs not used: Lowry, Tomelty.
DONEGAL CELTIC: Brown, Cleary, Hanna, I Curran (O’Hara 37), Spence, McAlorum, Henderson (P Carvill 73), McNamee, Gargan, McAllister, McVeigh (McCann 71). Subs not used: McMenamin, Glenholmes.
Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)