Linfield’s problems seriously intensified last night at Windsor Park, the supporters voicing their displeasure in no uncertain terms after the Co-Operative Insurance Cup setback as a remarkable slump reached its fourth defeat on the spin — without a goal in sight.
In contrast to the horrendous woes enveloping bemused David Jeffrey, it was an amazing first win for new Dungannon boss John Cunningham — and it was on the cards right from the start.
Ryan Mullan fired the visitors in front within two minutes, Jamie Tomelty added a goal two minutes short of the interval and Marc McCann tagged on number three near the end to complete a good night’s work.
Swifts had the dream start to their third round first leg game at Windsor Park, taking the lead in the second minute through Ryan Mullan.
The right back, returning from a thumb injury lay-off, headed them in front after Rodney McAree supplied the cross from a free-kick.
On ten minutes, Swifts were fortunate not to concede after Mullan’s throw-in to keeper Dwayne Nelson was charged down by Michael Carvill as the keeper attempted a clearance.
Carvill crossed looking for a blue shirt but former Windsor favourite Darren Murphy headed over his own crossbar.
Swifts quickly restored their composure and Mark McAllister twice tried in vain from distance before a neat move up the left side created a great chance for Jamie Tomelty.
Young Shea McGerrigan cut a path up the wing and passed inside for Tomelty, the attacking midfielder taking a touch and smacking a shot off the crossbar.
Linfield should have squared the game when Carvill supplied for attack partner Glenn Ferguson.
The veteran striker showed great skill, controlling the ball on his chest at the back post but he spoilt the move by blasting over from six yards.
It almost went from bad to worse for The Blues after that inglorious miss, an uncharacteristic mix-up between Mannus and William Murphy requiring speedy back-tracking form the keeper to prevent an own goal on 27 minutes.
Then, after McGerrigan had a shot turned behind, Tomelty doubled the visitors’ lead after another mistake by a Bluesman just before the interval.
Murphy failed to connect with a header 30 yards from goal, Tomelty nipping in and confidently dispatching the ball past Mannus, despite the attention of Noel Bailie — prompting boos for Linfield boss David Jeffrey and his men as they made their way to the changing rooms two minutes later.
Linfield made a couple of changes for the restart, Paul McAreavey and Kris Lindsay replaced by Mark Miskimmin and Robert Garrett, but they made no impact.
Things looked more promising for the holders on the hour but their luck was out as they hit the crossbar when Carvill headed a pass from Miskimmin over beaten Nelson.
Despite improvement in the Linfield performance, Swifts were content muster an occasional attack on the break. Those advances failed to reap much reward for Swifts until McCann’s low shot put the final nail in the Blues’ coffin.
LINFIELD: Mannus, Burns, Harkness, Murphy, Curran, Ferguson, Bailie, Lindsay, McAreavey, Carvill, Doherty. Subs: Douglas, Miskimmin for Lindsay 46, Martin for Ferguson 70, Garrett for McAreavey 46, Munster
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Nelson, Mullan, Murphy, Montgomery, Peden, Tomelty, McAree, Hegarty, McGerrigan, McAllister, McCann. Subs: Baker for McAllister 77, McKee, McAliskey, Slater for Tomelty 79, McManus
Referee: Dessie Loughery (Limavady).