'I was due a bit of luck': Linfield goal hero Josh Robinson delighted to put injury woes behind him
Linfield 1 Larne 0
Defender Josh Robinson emerged from a nightmare season to help Linfield pocket three crucial points at Windsor Park on Saturday.
In only his second start of the campaign, the 26-year-old grabbed the winning goal just four minutes from time to send the home faithful into a frenzy.
It was an ironic sting in the tail for gutsy Larne who, only seconds earlier, almost broke the deadlock when Davy McDaid's low drive was brilliantly clawed into the inside of the post by Rohan Ferguson.
The Danske Bank Premiership new boys paid the ultimate price when Robinson, who has been out injured since the end of last season, guided home an Andy Mitchell free kick after Conor Devlin failed to punch clear.
"It's been a frustrating season for me, sitting on the sidelines every week," said Robinson. "I've started the last two games, so hopefully the injury is now behind me.
"I sustained the problem last season when we more-or-less won the League up at Ballymena United. It was an inflamed pubic bone, which had kept me out since. I made a comeback in one of the cup competitions earlier in the season against East Belfast, but I was still feeling it.
"Thankfully, I've had no pain over the past few weeks. But it's been tough watching from the wings, especially after I played in nearly every game last season.
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"I had to watch the boys play in the Champions League qualifiers and then the Europa League, where we almost made the group stages. I got my chance because Jimmy (Callacher) was out injured.
"If someone misses out, there is somebody ready to take the shirt - that's the way it is at Linfield.
"When you go out of the team through injury or suspension, it's difficult to get back in again.
"I know all about it because I've had to wait my turn. This is a big club and there are plenty of options for the manager."
Although Devlin will have nightmares over his part in the Linfield winner, Robinson just couldn't hide his delight when he tucked the ball into the empty net.
"I suppose it was a bit lucky," he said. "I just made a run into the box and it fell for me.
"After the season I've had with the injury, I was maybe due a wee bit of luck.
"It was nice to score but getting the three points was more important. When you look at the other results, the goal was an even bigger bonus for us.
"Rohan made a brilliant save just before we scored. I was right behind it and he managed to touch the ball on to the post. That shows the quality he has.
"As a defender, I always take great pride in keeping clean sheets and Rohan helped us achieve that - it helps build confidence.
"Hopefully, we can now put together a wee run because that's two big results we've had this week."
Larne boss Tiernan Lynch believes it was a cruel way to lose what was a bruising encounter at times.
"That's why Linfield are league champions . . . they know how to win that type of game," he said.
"We are frustrated that we didn't get something out of the game, but there were a lot of positives.
"I thought we dominated for long periods. I suppose we need to be a little bit more clinical in the final third.
"We'll not hide behind, 'we've just been promoted, it's all new to us'. We've now played every team and for me we are not a million miles away.
"We are still very early in our journey . . . and we have work to do. Our fans travelled from Larne and paid their money to get in to watch the game, so we had to make sure we put on a show for them.
"For me, it's not just all about winning . . . it's about the process. It about us going out to give a good account of ourselves and trying to play football the right way.
"If that is not good enough, then we've got to get better. There is no way we'll get to the stage about getting bodies behind the ball and hoping for a draw."
LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Robinson, Waterworth (Stewart, 71 mins), Cooper, Millar, Lavery, Fallon, Mulgrew (Casement, 38 mins), McGivern, Mitchell.
Unused subs: Moore, Shevlin, Clarke, Reynolds, Hume.
INSTITUTE: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey (Gilmour, 90 mins), Sule (Randall, 75 mins) McDaid, Donnelly, Tilney (McKendry, 75 mins), Lynch, Hughes.
Unused subs: Mitchell, McEleney, Graham, Andrade.
Referee: Shane Andrews.
Man of the match: Stephen Fallon
Match rating: 7/10