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Linfield keep the heat on Crusaders with Cliftonville win

By Alex Mills

David Healy insisted he's not interested in mind games - and that Crusaders are still in pole position to retain the title.

Linfield cut the Crues' lead at the top to seven after they beat Cliftonville 2-0 in front of the Sky cameras at Windsor Park last night.

Stephen Lowry and Andy Waterworth ensured Healy's boys stay in the hunt with only seven games remaining.

The Northern Ireland international legend may have been suffering from a cold, but he got just what the doctor ordered.

“We were good tonight,” beamed Healy. “I’m always critical, even in victory. Had we been a little bit more ruthless, it could have been more.

“From free-kicks and set plays, we probably should have done a little bit better. Sometimes games hinge on missed chances — we scored and they missed. But it was a game I always thought we controlled.

“When you miss chances, 2-0 becomes a dangerous scoreline. But we managed the game pretty well and saw it out.”

Healy, however, is realistic in terms of summing up his chances of pinching the Gibson Cup with a late surge.

“I’ve gone on record saying it will take an almighty collapse from Crusaders to prevent them from retaining the title,” added Healy.

“If we get to the split with the gap still seven points, we’ll see what happens. We face the Crues in the first game when the last five teams meet — that could be massive.”

Healy was thrilled to lay the Windsor Park hoodoo to rest — prior to last night, his boys hadn’t won at home since January 21.

“The lads were oozing with confidence — our form, especially away from home, has been good. We showed no nerves at all,” he said. “We are still pushing in the league and we’ve the Irish Cup semi-final against Dungannon to look forward to.”

The Blues have the chance to cut the gap to four points at the weekend when they entertain Ards as Crusaders don’t play Ballinamallard United until the Monday night.

Reds boss Gerard Lyttle paid his team few compliments, stating: “I’ve no excuses. We were second to every ball and got what we deserved — nothing.”

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