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How Dungannon man used experience to make Linfield crowd 'turn' on team at Windsor Park

Linfield 0 Dungannon Sw 0

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Eyes forward: Dungannon’s Michael Carvill closes in on Stephen Fallon

Eyes forward: Dungannon’s Michael Carvill closes in on Stephen Fallon

Eyes forward: Dungannon’s Michael Carvill closes in on Stephen Fallon

Midfielder Michael Carvill relied on nasty past experiences to help Dungannon Swifts nick a precious point against Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Even though Kris Lindsay's team arrived at the international venue minus a posse of first team regulars, his young guns produced a performance of passion, desire and sheer determination that not only helped them earn a shock result, but also knock David Healy's Blues off the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

Having spent nine seasons at Linfield, 31-year-old Carvill was aware of the expectation levels that comes with pulling on a blue jersey and knew the pressure was on Healy's troops to blow away a team that is fighting for survival at the bottom of the table.

"From my own experience playing for Linfield at Windsor Park, it was horrible coming up against teams that sat in (defend) and were happy to let us come at them," said Carvill.

"When things don't happen or go according to plan, the crowd then turn on the team. It was almost like we had every given right to beat teams like Dungannon.

"So, coming to Windsor, we knew if we could frustrate them as long as we could, the crowd would become restless.

"Our target was to keep it tight for the first 30 minutes and then take it from there - and it worked.

"The point is important, but it's actually more than that because it will help give us belief. It proves we can come to the home of the champions, put in a good performance and not concede any goals.

"We actually nearly nicked the win at the end, but that would have been a smash and grab job."

Carvill reckons the result was a triumph for the younger members of the side.

He added: "We had a team of kids out there. Our goalkeeper, Conor Byrne, who was tremendous, is only 16. Terry Devlin is the same age. Up front, we had Ben Gallagher (15), Caolin Coyle (18), Oisin Smyth (19) while Rhyss Campbell has just turned 20.

"They all put in a great shift to help us get a positive result at a really difficult venue. Every one of our guys were superb and they stood up to the challenge.

"As a young team, the mistakes we make are punished, especially against the top sides in this league.

"We know now if we can come to Windsor Park and get a draw, we can go to other teams and frustrate them in the same way - we must build on this result.

"We are in a relegation dogfight, we all know the consequences. We know what we must do to get out of it. To be honest, next week's match against Institute is now an even bigger game.

"It's one of those ones if we win it, we can start looking at the team above us, instead of worrying about the teams below us. We believe we are good enough to push on."

Linfield boss Healy, not for the first time this season, was left to do some head scratching on why his team failed to function, especially after their crucial win at Cliftonville on Monday night.

"We created numerous chances, but we didn't have the clinical finish required," he sighed.

"Dungannon had a good shape and were quite happy for us to have possession because we were not really hurting them.

"We were looking for the perfect goal, the perfect pass or the perfect finish. It wasn't a day for a perfect goal. I would have been satisfied with a scruffy goal - the ball going into the net off someone's backside.

"I know the supporters have been disappointed once again, but I can't really complain about the players' attitude."

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Cooper, Stewart (Millar, 62 mins), Lavery, Clarke, Fallon, Mulgrew, Boyle (Shevlin, 76 mins), Mitchell (Kearns, 73 mins). Unused subs: Moore, Hery, McGivern, Casement.

DUNGANNON: Byrne, Wilson, Smyth, Teggart, Lowe, Carvill, Coyle, McAleer, Gallagher (Hughes, 61 mins), Campbell (Patton, 81 mins), Fitzpatrick (Devlin, 61 mins). Unused subs: Addis, Redman, Convie, Conway.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).

Man of the match: Conor Byrne.

Match rating: 5/10

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