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David Healy out to cure the Blues after Linfield's third straight loss at Glenavon

Glenavon 3 - Linfield 2

By Adrain Rutherford

Published 23/11/2015

Net gains: Joel Cooper wheels away with Gary Hamilton and Rhys Marshall after hitting Glenavon’s winner
Net gains: Joel Cooper wheels away with Gary Hamilton and Rhys Marshall after hitting Glenavon’s winner

David Healy insists he is not surprised at the size of the job facing him at Linfield - and has pledged to turn things around.

The Blues slipped to their third straight defeat at Glenavon on Saturday, a result which leaves them nine points off the lead.

It was another setback for Healy, who has seen his men win just twice in the league since taking charge last month.

But the former Northern Ireland striker said he was well aware that he was taking on a massive job.

"I knew it was going to be a big job and it's one I'm looking forward to," Healy said.

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A 75th-minute winner from the lively Joel Cooper gave Glenavon the points in a pulsating clash at Mourneview Park that condemned Linfield to a third successive Premiership loss for the first time since December 2002.

Daniel Kearns fired the home side in front early on, only for Jamie Mulgrew to haul the Blues level with a fine individual strike.

Glenavon retook the lead eight minutes into the second-half when Cooper's speculative effort crept into the net, but Linfield were level 90 seconds later as Mulgrew turned provider for Kirk Millar.

However, Cooper won it with 15 minutes remaining, stabbing home from close range.

Healy continued afterwards: "It's disappointing. We scored two goals and I thought we could get something out of the game.

"We fought back, and credit to the boys, but we ended up not getting the result out of the game."

Asked what he thinks the underlying issue seems to be, Healy delivered a blunt answer.

"We keep losing - that's what the problem is," he snapped.

However, he is confident the situation will change, adding: "It's something I have to address. Hopefully I'll be able to do that."

Glenavon, meanwhile, have closed to within two points of Linfield after a ninth win of the campaign.

They looked a real threat every time they got the ball forward, with Kearns delivering another stand-out performance.

He opened the scoring after seven minutes, darting into the box to collect a pass from Eoin Bradley before converting with a right-foot finish.

Andrew Waterworth went close before Mulgrew levelled with that eye-catching effort, picking the ball up 25 yards out and firing past ex-Blues goalkeeper Jonathan Tuffey.

Glenavon were back in front when a cross-shot from Cooper bounced and ended up in the net.

But Linfield levelled from the move of the match, Millar applying the finish to a wonderful through-ball from Mulgrew.

The winner came late on after Andy Hall's free-kick bounced back off the far post and fell perfectly for Cooper, who side-footed home.

Glenavon assistant boss Paul Millar was delighted with the character shown by his players throughout.

"Both sides weren't giving anything up - it was that type of game," he said.

"It wasn't a case that, once we scored, Linfield's heads went down - they actually raised their game.

"I felt overall, particularly in the second-half, that we edged it, but what a great game of football."

This was the latest in a series of tough games for the Lurgan side, who have faced the top three within the last month and play Glentoran this weekend.

But Cooper, who now has four goals this term, insists they fear no-one.

"It gives you great confidence, but we are a confident team," he said.

"Every game is tough but we go out expecting to win every time.

"That is the way we are. The manager instils in us the importance of going out with no fear, and we believe we are good enough to get results, no matter who we are playing."

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Kelly, Dillon, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Marshall, Hall, Sykes, Kearns, Cooper, Bradley (Hamilton, 71 mins). Unused subs: McKeown, Patton, McGrory, O'Brien.

LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Haughey (Salley, 83 mins), Callacher, Burns, Ward, Clarke, Kee (Bates, 77 mins), Mulgrew, Millar, Smyth, Waterworth. Unused subs: Stafford, Reece Glendinning, Deane

Man of the match: Daniel Kearns

Match rating: 9/10

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)

Belfast Telegraph

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