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French ace Christy Manzinga brings a je ne sais quoi to Linfield, but manager David Healy wants more

Linfield 1 Ballymena United 0


Lift off: Christy Manzinga is hailed by Linfield team-mate Ahmed Salam after opening the scoring

Lift off: Christy Manzinga is hailed by Linfield team-mate Ahmed Salam after opening the scoring

Conor Keeley

Conor Keeley


Lift off: Christy Manzinga is hailed by Linfield team-mate Ahmed Salam after opening the scoring

Christy Manzinga came to Linfield’s rescue once again by nicking a priceless winner against Ballymena United at Windsor Park — but manager David Healy wants more from his star man.

The French striker celebrated his 50th appearance in a blue shirt by hitting another goal of the season contender, volleying home a beauty after only 15 minutes.

He could well have gone home with the match ball, but had a good chance snatched off his toe by Sky Blues goalkeeper Sam Johnston before he blasted another over the top.

The victory helped the Blues move five points clear in the Danske Bank Premiership table, while it also meant that the Sky Blues haven’t won in their last 14 visits to the international arena.

“I still think Christy could do more with the talent he has — that’s me talking with my striker’s hat on,” said former Northern Ireland international Healy.

“I know he put in a hell of a shift, considering he played last Tuesday after being out for 10 days or two weeks, but I’m a very demanding person, especially with the strikers at the club.

“He did give us a great 75 minutes or so before he was replaced. At times I was thinking, ‘go on Christy, you are playing so well and working so hard, go and get us the important second goal’.

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“We wanted to expose the space and we got a lot of joy from that in the first half with Christy’s pace and power causing problems, it was something we worked on. We had a lot of possession and the only thing missing was a second or third goal.

“Christy was always a threat, but you could see that his tank was starting to empty. You need to be careful with players when they to begin to empty that they don’t pull up on you.”

Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey hailed the contribution of his defender Conor Keeley, who was playing in the midst of tragic personal circumstances.

“Conor was absolutely immense,” said Jeffrey. “It has been a very difficult time for him because he lost his grandfather in tragic circumstances earlier in the week.

“His grandfather was up at Ballymena several times to see Conor play. In the absence of Leroy Millar, I had no hesitation in giving the captain’s armband to Conor — he was a colossus for us.”

Jeffrey reckoned his boys were worthy of a point, adding: “We didn’t do enough to win the game, but we certainly did enough to take a point.

LINFIELD: Johns, Roscoe, Callacher, Manzinga (A Clarke, 78 mins), M Clarke, McClean, Fallon, Mulgrew, Donnelly (McKee, 72 mins), Quinn, Salam (Millar, 72 mins). Unused subs: Walsh, Newberry, Devine, Archer.

BALLYMENA: Johnston, Wilson (Nelson, 42 mins), McElroy (Bramall, 87 mins), Waide (Kane, 87 mins), McCullough, Rodgers (Place, 75 mins), Barr (Henderson, 87 mins), McGrory, Parkhouse, Keeley, Graham. Unused subs: McDowell, Loughran.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber)

Man of the match: Sam Roscoe

Match rating: 6/10

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