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Healy demands big improvement

Linfield 1 Dungannon Swifts 1

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 29/08/2016

Round the twist: Kirk Millar attempts to steer past Dungannon’s Ally Teggart
Round the twist: Kirk Millar attempts to steer past Dungannon’s Ally Teggart

David Healy has warned that Linfield cannot allow a gap to develop at the summit of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Blues sit two points off early pacesetters Crusaders after the first month and missed the chance to go joint top at the weekend after being held by in-form Dungannon Swifts.

Though nobody pays serious attention to the table at this stage, Healy is mindful that they cannot be left behind in the race.

"There are glimpses, but there is no point there being glimpses if we get to January or February and we are eight or nine points behind whoever is leading the table," he said.

"We have to show a more ruthless attitude at home. We can't keep dropping points at home."

Healy will look back on last season, when a torrid November effectively put paid to the Blues' title hopes.

They lost all four league games, leaving them with too much to do in the second half of the campaign. So the two points dropped here - and against Coleraine earlier this month - will already be a cause for concern.

This was a frustrating day for Healy, who saw his side struggle to break down a well organised Dungannon team.

Mark Haughey's first half goal looked to have given them the perfect start.

The defender was left unmarked in the box to meet Josh Carson's corner and guide home a simple header.

Dungannon levelled six minutes into the second half when Kris Lowe scored his first league goal for the club, arriving on cue to connect with a terrific cross from Andrew Mitchell, equalising with a simple tap-in.

The Swifts created the better chances, with Jamie Glackin and Ally Teggart both drawing good saves from Roy Carroll.

Healy branded his side's performance "unacceptable".

"It is frustrating - Dungannon came with one up front, packed the midfield and looked to sit in," he added.

"But I feel as if we have enough quality and enough good, experienced players in the team to make something out of nothing. I don't think we created enough chances. It wasn't good enough today."

Healy is six weeks short of completing a year in the Linfield hot seat and has had the benefit of a full pre-season and summer transfer window to stamp his mark on his side.

One of the new arrivals, Kris Bright, made an 18-minute cameo appearance on Saturday and Healy believes there is still a lot to come from the Blues.

"I still want much more," he added. "Has there been progress? I don't know. I don't make those decisions. I can only judge the players, especially some of the new players that have come in.

"Has there been progress? I'll leave that for other people to decide but I see enough in training and see enough in some of the games that we've played this season to know that we're more than capable."

This was another big step forward for Dungannon boss Rodney McAree.

His side are unbeaten in three and have taken seven points from a difficult run of fixtures which also included Coleraine and Cliftonville.

McAree was impressed with his players' performance.

"We've come here, been brave and tried to get our foot on the ball. We didn't just sit back and try and just defend," he said.

LINFIELD: Carroll, Casement, Callacher, Haughey, Quinn, Millar, Ward (Bright, 72 mins), Clingan, Carson (Gaynor, 56 mins), Burns, Waterworth (Smyth, 62 mins). Unused subs: Lowry, Mulgrew

DUNGANNON: Coleman, Burns, Armstrong, Wilson (Fitzpatrick, 84 mins), O'Rourke, Clucas (Hegarty, 63 mins), Harpur, Lowe (McElroy, 84 mins), Teggart, Glackin, Mitchell. Unused subs: Addis, Laverty

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Man of the match: Ryan Harpur

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph

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