Billy’s joy as Linfield escape from Dungannon with a point
Dungannon Swifts 1 Linfield 1
Billy Joe Burns was Linfield’s hero last night as the youngster snatched a priceless league point for the champions with a late, late equaliser at Stangmore Park.
Burns levelled in the third of four minutes of injury time, spectacularly volleying to the top right corner of the net,
Swifts had seemed on their way to another sensational win over the Blues, thanks to a Rodney McAree penalty just after the half-hour.
Just when it looked like Dungannon would follow up last season’s 4-0 home win against the Blues, Burns popped up to send the travelling support back down the M1 with something to cheer.
Former Linfield striker Timmy Adamson had the ball in the visiting net on six minutes when he met a McAree free but his right-footed effort was ruled out, an infringement spotted by eagle-eyed referee Adrian McCourt.
Four minutes later Adamson won an aerial battle with Alan Mannus, his header cleared off the line by Noel Bailie.
Good work from Burns on 17 minutes brought Linfield a great chance when he robbed Mark McAllister, back helping out his defence. A low ball from the right, side was hit first time by Michael Carvill, but Dwayne Nelson got a touch and McAree cleared.
After surviving four Dungannon corners, Linfield caused a few problems for the home defence -the best an optimistic shot from Paul McAreavey from just inside the Dungannon half that had Nelson backtracking.
Swifts, looking much sharper than on Saturday when they slumped to defeat at Coleraine , reaped the reward for their industry and creativity when they won a 34th minute penalty.
A free-kick from McAree was handled by Carvill, the ball blocked by his left arm – with some Blues men claiming there was no intention.
Swifts ignored the appeals and captain McAree coolly stepped up and placed the ball to the left side of the goal, a foot high of the despairing dive of Mannus.
Linfield were rattled by the Swifts score and stepped up the tempo as the interval approached.
Carvill had a low shot well saved by Nelson before a low drive from Burns ten yards out was superbly kicked off the line by keeper.
Linfield dominated the second- half exchanges , but escaped punishment when Jamie Tomelty’s shot was deflected behind by William Murphy.
There was late drama when Conor Downey’s shot in the final minute was spilled by Nelson and blasted to the net by Carvill, only to be ruled out by the offside flag - Burns coming to the rescue from Damian Curran's corner.
Dungannon Swifts: Nelson, Peden, Gallagher, Montgomery, McMinn, Tomelty, McAree, Adamson, Murphy, McAllister, McCann. Subs: Hegarty for McAllister 68, McGerrigan for Murphy 82, Fitzpatrick for McCann 89, Baker and McAliskey.
Linfield: Mannus, Burns, Murphy, Bailie, O’Kane, Curran, McAreavey, Mulgrew, Carvill, Ferguson, Downey. Subs: Martin for McAreavey 60, Addis, Lindsay, Douglas, Miskimmin.
Referee: Adrian McCourt (Bangor).