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Healy is pulling no punches after lack of Boxing Day fight

Linfield 1-1 Glentoran

By Graham Luney

In the Big Two battles you need warriors to stand tall and Glentoran found theirs in the second half. Linfield's went missing and that will be a huge concern to Blues boss David Healy, who made sure it wasn't the season of goodwill in the home dressing room after the game.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer wasn't full of festive cheer and rightly so. All he witnessed was more evidence that this is another Linfield side that is going to fall short in a title race.

It was a tale of two brilliant headers - from Mark Haughey and Aaron Harmon - but Linfield could have been out of sight by half-time and the Glens, after a half-time rollicking from boss Gary Haveron, decided to make a fight of it.

Crusaders are now seven points above Linfield in the Premiership table and a few Blues fans are even starting to admit that the title race is all over. If they lose at Seaview on Saturday the bookies might even consider paying out.

Glentoran deserve credit for their spirited second-half showing and could even have pinched a win through Nacho Novo's late effort which tested keeper Roy Carroll but Healy was rightly fuming at two huge points dropped.

"I thought we were poor in the second half. There wasn't much in it in the first half but we missed a few chances and sometimes those come back to bite you," he said.

"In the second half we weren't good enough. I try to set standards at the club regarding attitude and performance and I don't think it was there in the second half. If you're not clinical or ruthless sometimes further in the game it comes back to haunt you and that was the disappointing thing. Big games call for big players and we didn't have enough big players turning up today.

"I don't think we maintained the standards that we demand and expect here and I told the players after the game it was disappointing the way we capitulated a bit in the second half and didn't create enough chances. We looked a bit leggy and almost a bit lazy maybe as we didn't pick up enough second balls and go on to hurt their back four."

Haughey headed the Blues in front on 12 minutes but Harmon produced his own stunning header from Ross Redman's delivery in the 60th minute to earn his side a point.

Stephen McAlorum was shown a straight red card for a firm challenge on Sean Ward but substitute Novo almost netted the winner but he couldn't outwit Carroll.

Glens boss Gary Haveron said: "We could have come away with the three points had Nacho tucked away that late chance but we've got to be happy with the point.

"We conceded early doors against them and we had to respond in the right way.

"I went through them at half-time.

"I asked them for pride and commitment and to show the fans what it meant to play for Glentoran and we got that in the second half."

Belfast Telegraph


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