Linfield 2 Dungannon Swifts 1
Linfield boss David Jeffrey saluted goalkeeper Alan Blayney following this unimpressive Premiership win at Windsor Park.
The former international shot-stopper prevented the ailing title holders from self-destructing once again with an incredible last minute save — somehow clawing away a header from his own defender Jim Ervin.
“We almost shot ourselves in the foot, which is typical of the way things have been going for us,” said Jeffrey. “But Alan produced a magnificent save to earn us the win.
“It was a defensive error ... a total mess and it took a piece of brilliance to bail us out.”
Goals from Peter Thompson and Brian McCaul (pictured) looked to have eased the anxiety that has hovered over the international arena in recent weeks. But the jitters returned once Stefan Lavery shot the Swifts back into it midway through the second half.
It took that jaw-dropping save by Blayney in the dying seconds to prevent the Windsor ‘boo boys’ from having another field day.
The disjointed Linfield performance again suggested that the Gibson Cup will finding a new home come the end of the season.
“I really don’t give a fiddlers how ugly it was,” added Jeffrey.
“Frankly, I’m not bothered. We are in the results related business — we needed three points.
“I concede it wasn't pretty — it wasn’t nice to watch. But when you through a period like we are, results are all important.
“I don’t want anyone to think we are just satisfied with the three points and nothing more. The players and the staff know that this is not where we want to be. It is now about digging in and trying to get out of the situation we are in.”
Thompson got the Blues off to a great start, nodding home Michael Carvill’s free kick after only two minutes. McCaul then looked to have struck the killer blow from the spot early in the second half. But the home fans’ nerves were jangling again when Lavery converted Neal Gawley’s cross with 20 minutes left.
“I am not disappointed with the overall performance. What I am disappointed with is that they lads initially had a bit of doubt in their minds, but they showed they can play,” said Dungannon boss Darren Murphy.