Haughey on high as Linfield hit title surge
Warrenpoint Town 2 Linfield 3: If Linfield go on to recapture the league championship they will look back fondly on a cold afternoon when they produced one of the most sensational comebacks in history.
Trailing 2-0 on their first trip to Warrenpoint Town's Milltown home and with only six minutes remaining, the Blues were staring down the barrel of a shock defeat but they dug deep to show what champions are made of.
Late goals from Andy Waterworth, Mark McAllister and Mark Haughey's first for the club broke Town's brave resistance.
Boss David Jeffrey set about a rescue mission at half-time after Stephen Hughes and Liam Bagnall had given the hosts a shock 2-0 lead and after the late fireworks his side had restored their six points lead at the top of the table.
Newry man Haughey was the happiest man in South Down after heading home the stoppage time winner. "The manager had said to us before the game not to underestimate Warrenpoint and they proved exactly why not to in the first half," said the centre-back who turns 23 at the end of the month.
"It was good to get the win in the end but it was a below-par performance. However, the main thing was the three points
"It's my first goal for the club and a couple of the boys had said to me before the game that I was due one. The manager had said the same thing to me as well.
"I've scored a couple for the Reserves, so I'm happy to get one for the first team, especially with it being the winner."
Haughey and his team-mates may well look back on Saturday's late show as a pivotal moment in the season if they go on to regain their Premiership crown.
Haughey admitted: "With the amount of chances we had and with hitting the post, I was starting to think that maybe it just wasn't going to be our day but, as the manager always says and he said it at half-time, you have to keep believing."
A 25th-minute Stephen Hughes penalty – after Daniel Hughes had been brought down by Jonny Tuffey – and a Liam Bagnall header just before half-time had put Warrenpoint in front.
Waterworth headed in a Brian McCaul free-kick on 84 minutes and McAllister drilled a low shot home with a minute remaining.
Haughey's header in added time completed the stunning fightback.
Jeffrey confirmed after the game that Jimmy Callacher had signed a pre-contract agreement with the club and will join them in the summer unless a fee is agreed with Glentoran.
And defender Jim Ervin is now expected to move to Ballymena United after the player expressed frustration at his lack of first team action at Windsor.
The Sky Blues are also in the race to sign striker Peter Thompson.
Warrenpoint Town: Parr, Moan, Hughes, Boyle, Cowan, Parr, Smith (King, 76 mins), Bagnall, McCabe (Mulgrew, 46 mins), D Hughes, S Hughes (Freeman 76). Unused subs: Devlin, Havern
Linfield: Tuffey, BJ Burns, Haughey, Ward, Clarke (Gault, 46), J Mulgrew (McCaul, 51), Lowry, A Burns, Carvill (Sproule 46), McAllister, Waterworth. Unused subs: Tipton, Reece Glendinning
Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).