Waterworth puts Linfield in cruise control
Linfield 5 Warrenpoint Town 1: Linfield hotshot Andy Waterworth admits he doesn't set targets but, after bagging his 12th goal of the season, he is hungry for more!
Waterworth and Matthew Tipton each grabbed a glorious double in the easy win over Warrenpoint Town at Windsor Park. Unfortunate defender Stephen Moan compounded what was a miserable day for the visitors by shooting into his own net.
Although Stephen Hughes grabbed a consolation spot kick for the Premiership's new boys, they were totally outclassed and, on the evidence of this performance, they will face a long hard battle to remain in the top flight.
The Blues are now six points clear of nearest challengers Crusaders and, with Waterworth and Tipton now forming an explosive partnership – they've hit 20 goals between them – David Jeffrey's team are beginning to look like genuine title contenders.
"With the amount of quality we have in this squad, the strikers will always get chances," said Waterworth. "Matty and I have struck up a good understanding and we have started to bang in a few goals.
"But there is fierce competition for places. We know we must keep delivering. Mark McAllister is bursting to get back in and Peter Thompson is on his way back to full fitness after injury. Everyone is pushing for that shirt.
"The rule is you keep the shirt if you work hard and deliver the goods. If you don't, someone else will be in.
"Things have fallen for Tippy and myself over the past few weeks, the goals have been flying in, but the most important thing is winning games.
"We would take a 1-0 win all day long if it gets us three points.
"There will be tough challenges up ahead, but we are playing well as a team – and that breeds confidence. We realise that can change very quickly. It's a cliché often used, but we just take one game at a time."
Waterworth second goal was the Blues' 50th of the season.
"I never set targets . . . goals look after themselves," he declared. "I'm aware that strikers can go through a little barren spell.
"But I approach every game thinking I can score, even though it doesn't always work out that way. The big games are coming thick and fast, but that's the way we want it."
Waterworth insists the six points lead Linfield have established at the top of the table doesn't mean a lot in the dressing room at this time of the season.
He said: "We may have increased our advantage, but there is such a long road up ahead. Things can change so quickly on any given day, any team has the capacity to beat anyone else in this league. We'll not become complacent in any shape or form."
LINFIELD: Tuffey, McVey, Gault, Waterworth (McMenamin, 75 mins), Lowry, Carvill, BJ Burns, Ward, Tipton, Mulgrew (McCaul, 72 mins), Quinn (Clarke, 16 mins). Unused subs: A Burns, McAllister.
WARRENPOINT: J Parr, King, Gowan, S Parr, S Hughes, Smith (Devlin, 46 mins), Bagnall, M Hughes (Havern, 62 mins), Moan, Boyle, Grant (D Hughes, 46 mins). Unused subs: McCabe, McMullan.
Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey).