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Feeney's reign starts with a bang as Blues rewrite history books

B36 Torshavn 1-2 Linfield

By Stuart McKinley

Warren Feeney heaped praise on his players as his reign as Linfield manager got off to a magnificent start.

The Blues beat B36 Torshavn of the Faroe Islands 2-1 in their Europa League first leg clash, thanks to goals from Jamie Mulgrew and Michael Carvill and in the process recorded a piece of history.

After last season's adventure in the same competition, when they beat both Fuglafjordur – also from the Faroe Islands – and Skoda Xanthi of Greece away from home, the Blues have now won three successive away games in Europe for the first time.

As long as they avoid defeat in next Tuesday's return leg at Mourneview Park, Linfield will book a place in the second round, where they will face AIK Solna of Sweden.

"I'm absolutely delighted. I was quietly confident about those bunch of boys because we've only been in two weeks, but every single one of them and the staff have bought in to what I want to do," said Feeney.

"It's a great win for us away from home against a team who are 15 or 16 games into their season and winning their league by six or seven points."

Feeney gave debuts to defensive duo Jamie Richards and Chris Hegarty, as well as former Coleraine midfielder Stephen Lowry, with Hegarty being handed the captain's armband.

The new boss almost got off to a dream start when Andy Waterworth – who scored on his Linfield debut in the same stadium 12 months ago – had the ball in the net after only 11 minutes, but his deflected finish was ruled out for offside.

When Linfield did take the lead on 38 minutes it was a goal worth waiting for.

Ivan Sproule sent in a low cross from the right wing which Carvill controlled 15 yards from goal.

He was unable to turn and shoot, so instead he laid the ball back for Mulgrew, who met it with a beautifully struck first-time shot from 25 yards which curled past the goalkeeper's left hand and inside the post.

Waterworth missed a great opportunity to double the lead on the hour mark and the Blues were then hit with a sucker punch 12 minutes later.

Jimmy Callacher, who had come on for the injured Mark Haughey after only half an hour, fouled Adeshina Lawal. Roaldur Jacobsen swung in the free kick and Lawal got onto the end of it and sent the ball past Jonny Tuffey for the equaliser.

Despite being up against a team that is in mid-season, Linfield looked the stronger side and just a couple of minutes after being pegged back they had a great chance to regain the lead when Aaron Burns brought a great save from Torshavn goalkeeper Tordur Thomsen.

Sproule did the same on 84 minutes as Linfield pushed for a winning goal, but they were almost caught out two minutes later when Tuffey misjudged a back pass and had to hack the ball out for a corner.

Linfield then scored the goal that gives them the lead in the tie just two minutes from the end.

Peter Thompson, who had replaced Waterworth just after the Torshavn equaliser, flicked on Matthew Clarke's left-wing cross and Carvill tucked the ball into the net from close range.

B36 TORSHAVN: Thomsen, Faero, H. Askham, Eriksen, Eysturoy, Jacobsen, Matras, Thorleifsson, A. Cieslewicz, L. Cieslewicz, Lawal. Subs: T. Askham, Danielsen, Joensen, Heinesen, Nielsen, Sorensen, Poulsen.

LINFIELD: Tuffey, Richards, Hegarty, Haughey, M Clarke, Sproule, Mulgrew, Lowry, Burns, Carvill, Waterworth. Subs: Ross Glendinning, Reece Glendinning, Quinn, Callacher, R Clarke, Thompson, Morrow.

Referee: Nikola Popov (Bulgaria).

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