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Linfield underdogs in title race, admits David Healy

Warrenpoint Town 2-6 Linfield

By Ian Callender

Published 30/03/2016

On the run: Linfield’s Kirk Millar leaves Warrenpoinit Town’s Liam Bagnall trailing in his wake at Milltown
On the run: Linfield’s Kirk Millar leaves Warrenpoinit Town’s Liam Bagnall trailing in his wake at Milltown

David Healy admitted Crusaders are massive favourites to retain the Premiership title despite the Blues' 6-2 mauling of basement side Warrenpoint Town last night.

Linfield did their job at Milltown in devastating fashion but the last-gasp goal for the leaders at Ballinamallard was a sickening blow.

"We can only concentrate on our job and if we don't win the league - and the Crues are massive favourites - we have to take care of our own business and make sure we finish in second place," said Healy.

"They are champions for a reason but we have come a long way in the five months I have been here and, without being disrespectful to Warrenpoint, we were dominant from minute one to 78, when David Kee had to go off injured. They got the full force."

The game was as good as over after 30 minutes when Ross Gaynor's deadly finish added to Aaron Burns and Kirk Millar's strikes in the first 10 minutes and they piled on the agony in the second-half with further goals from Burns, Millar and substitute David Kee.

Warrenpoint remain rooted at the bottom of the table, just one point behind the Mallards, and with four of their remaining five games against the teams directly above them - at home - manager Barry Gray knows there are winnable games to come.

Even the Crues would have found it hard to live with Linfield in the early stages of this contest, although Jimmy Callacher was given the freedom of Milltown as he won every aerial duel from the deadly set-pieces.

The big defender already had an effort cleared off the line from Millar's corner before the next cross, in the fourth minute, was met by Burns, who found the net.

Six minutes later, Callacher headed the latest free-kick against the post and Millar fired home the rebound to double Linfield's lead.

Before 15 minutes had elapsed, Callacher had yet another chance to get on the scoresheet himself but this time his header from the corner was over the crossbar.

Blues skipper Andy Waterworth then had the ball in the net after Callacher had headed another free-kick goalwards but it was ruled out for offside.

The third goal was not long delayed. A cross from the right was only cleared to Gaynor on the edge of the area and his first-time shot beat Johnny Parr.

The interval was the only respite for the home side as the rampant Blues continued to enjoy themselves.

Five minutes after the break, Millar was brought down in the box by Mark Hughes and Burns sent Parr the wrong way from the spot. Five minutes later, the Town defence failed to deal with another cross, this time along the ground, and Millar converted.

Liam Bagnall scored for Warrenpoint on the hour before Kee made it six and Stephen Murray completed the scoring for Town as the Blues coasted to the finish.

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Parr, Moan, McVeigh, Dane, M Hughes (Murphy 60), Boyle, Clarke, McDonald, Donnelly (Mulvenna 60), Bagnall (S Hughes 60), S Murray.

Linfield: Ross Glenninning, Reece Glendinning, Ward, Callacher, Clarke, Millar, Lowry (Kee 60), Mulgrew, Gaynor (Fallon 60), Waterworth (McLellan 76), Burns.

Man of the match: Aaron Burns (Linfield)

Match rating: 9/10

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Belfast Telegraph

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