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Linfield 'lucky' not to see red and referee helps Sean O'Neill to penalty save: Saturday's Irish League talking points



Linfield hero Lee Doherty reckons Christy Manzinga was fortunate not to be sent off before he had a big hand in his side's clinching goal.

Linfield hero Lee Doherty reckons Christy Manzinga was fortunate not to be sent off before he had a big hand in his side's clinching goal.

Linfield hero Lee Doherty reckons Christy Manzinga was fortunate not to be sent off before he had a big hand in his side's clinching goal.

It was another eventful day in the Danske Bank Premiership with the top three all victorious and Ballymena United also earning a much-needed second win of the season.

Here's all you need to know about the afternoon's games:

Linfield 2-0 Glenavon: Linfield lucky not to see red during latest win, says club hero

Former Linfield midfielder Lee Doherty says Christy Manzinga was lucky still to be on the pitch by the time his 76th minute header was turned home on the rebound by Shayne Lavery.

It was a goal that made the 2-0 win over Glenavon safe but, according to Doherty, Manzinga could have been sent off after a clash with Glenavon defender Daniel Larmour.

"We all understand the rules of the game and if you're lifting your hands, even if you're just pushing people, you're walking a tight-rope and you could well be sent off," Doherty said on BBC Radio Ulster. "He didn't strike his face but he still raised his hand. What told the tale was we saw Jimmy Callacher lecture Manzinga and say 'you can't get on like that'. He could have been sent off and cost them the game and he had only been on the pitch a few minutes."

The result keeps the Blues a point clear of Larne at the top of the league with a game in hand.

"Linfield do what they do, they win games. David Healy will play down his side's start to the season but they are the team to beat," said Doherty.

"Stephen Fallon was the standout player. He's developed into a very important part of this Linfield team."

Crusaders 3-1 Dungannon Swifts: How ignoring referee helped Sean O'Neill save early penalty

Sean O'Neill would never have saved Dougie Wilson's early spot-kick at Seaview if he had listened to referee Andrew Davey.

"I asked Andy Davey where to go and he said go right," laughed Crusaders stopper O'Neill on BBC Radio Ulster. "So obviously I went left. If Andy says go right, you go left."

It was a momentum swing that helped set the Crues on their way to a fifth win from their opening seven league matches, leaving the club just three points behind league leaders Linfield having played a game more.

Jamie McGonigle opened the scores soon after O'Neill's crucial save, with Wilson beating the keeper to level before half-time.

A pair of second-half penalties from Crusaders' summer signing Ben Kennedy proved enough to get a win birthed by paying no heed the referee.

Ballymena United 2-0 Warrenpoint Town: Ross Redman has plenty still to give, says David Jeffrey

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey has a message for anybody doubting Ross Redman's capacity to continue performing at the highest level.

The former Portadown and Glentoran full-back joined the Sky Blues during the summer and, aged 30, had a point to prove after a season a Dungannon Swifts.

Having started all six of Ballymena United's opening league games this term, he delivered both assists during Saturday's 2-0 win over Warrenpoint at the Showgrounds.

And that was much to the manager's delight.

"We had an interest in bringing Ross to the Showgrounds when he went to Glentoran but he chose them, which I understood given his uncle Ronnie (McFall - former Glens boss)," explained the boss.

"He went on loan to Dungannon and we invited Ross up to pre-season. He came with the message that he had something to prove. That's the story with a lot of our players. They realise we will give them and opportunity but they have to perform. Ross is a tremendous professional and his performance was exemplary. To anybody who did raise their eyebrows when he signed him, I hope you're still raising them."

The first goal was headed in by returning striker Cathair Friel, making his first appearance of the season.

"He's a great talent and all credit goes to Cathair," smiled Jeffrey. "He has responded tremendously well to guidance and support. He has looked much more like himself, back with that lovely big smile of his and today he did particularly well. His goal and his all-round work ethic was superb. That's the Cathair Friel I know and love."

Larne 1-0 Cliftonville: Larne leave it late for 'deserved' win

Larne defender Albert Watson says his side were good value for their late, late win over Cliftnville at Inver Park.

Watson's centre-back partner Josh Robinson climbed high to head home Marty Donnelly's cross for the only goal in the 95th minute

The result keeps Larne within a point of leaguer-leaders Linfield, albeit having played a game more.

"As it went on in the second half, I thought it was going to be a draw," Watson told the BBC. "The way things were going, we weren't as fluent as we were in the first half, but you can't argue that we didn't deserve the win. It was a great header by big Josh and it was good to get the win.

"We knew that if we kept a clean sheet, we'd have a good chance to win the game, and that's what we did. It's pleasing, it gives us a big lift."

Belfast Telegraph