Lucky 13 for Andy Waterworth as Linfield hit back against Warrenpoint Town
Linfield 5-1 Warrenpoint
Striker Andy Waterworth hailed the influence of Linfield assistant boss Andy Todd following his four-goal salvo against Warrenpoint Town at Windsor Park.
The big Crossgar man not only aided his rehabilitation after their horror show against Crusaders seven days earlier, but his personal demolition helped nudge Warren Feeney's boys four points clear of the pack in the Danske Bank Premiership - and took his tally for the season to an incredible 13.
Although the visitors had the audacity to pull one back through Mark Hughes, Linfield defender Mark Haughey came up with his customary strike against Barry Gray's troops - his fourth in five meetings.
"I was disappointed with my performance against Crusaders last week, I hardly touched the ball," said Waterworth.
"I was very down after it. But we have a great coaching staff, the gaffer (Warren Feeney) and Alfie Wylie have been great.
"But Andy Todd went out of his way this week to make sure that I would bounce back.
"He devoted a lot of time working with me and even went to the trouble of making a DVD to pinpoint a lot of aspects about my game. I really benefited from it.
"Fair play to the management team. They showed what they are all about, helping build my confidence after being so down the previous week.
"We were embarrassed, we let ourselves down, but we took it on the chin. We needed a reaction and we got it. I thought they entire team were hungry.
"Although we were doing the right things in the first half, we we were still a bit sloppy.
"The gaffer addressed it at half time and we totally bossed the second half. We defended well, the midfield unit got on the ball and we created loads of chances.
"I think we were well worth the result."
Even though he left with the match ball under his arm, Waterworth insisted his team mates deserve all the credit.
"They make the chances, I'm the one that gets into the box to put them away," he added. "Probably my third one gave me the most satisfaction. Niall (Quinn) played the ball to the back post. He's the best crosser of a ball I have ever played with.
"It may have looked a simple finish, but I've seen myself missing that kind of chance before. I just concentrated on keeping the ball down.
"Batesy (Guy Bates) keeps telling me he'll keep doing all the running and the hard work, if I just stay in the box. Seriously, he's great to play with. He is so enthusiastic, he's loud, he likes getting on the ball. We've really struck up a good understanding.
"We are good pals off the pitch as well."
Warrenpoint manager Barry Gray admitted his boys self destructed in many ways.
"We did really well for the first 45 minutes. We created a great chance before half-time to go level. Stephen (Hughes) went one-on-one with the goalkeeper and didn't even hit the target. It was a game changer," he said.
"Had we come in at 1-1, it would have been a different game. But we were still very much in it. Two minutes into the second half, the game was over as we gifted Linfield their second goal.
"It was down to individual errors. We didn't deal with a ball on the line, which should have been booted into the back of the stand. It eventually came to Waterworth on the edge of our box. He had yards of space to pick his spot.
"Teams just don't come back from a 2-0 deficit at Windsor, especially not us as our confidence levels are so low."
LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Stafford (Reece Glendinning, 80 mins), Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry (Kee, 71 mins), Bates, Millar (Quinn, 42 mins), Burns, Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew. Unused subs: Deane, Salley.
Warrenpoint: Shanahan, King (Clarke, 80 mins), McVeigh, McDonald (Rooney, 67 mins), D Hughes, S Hughes, Bagnall, M Hughes, Moan, Kierans (Murray, 67 mins), Boyle. Unused subs: Smith, Dane.
Man of the match: Andy Waterworth
Match rating: 8/10
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)