Belfast Telegraph

Linfield will go all out to hit back in Big Two derby after Ards humbling, says Healy

Ards 2 Linfield 1

By Keith Bailie

Tomorrow night's County Antrim Shield clash with Glentoran gives Linfield the ideal opportunity to put Saturday's shock defeat to Ards behind them, according to manager David Healy.

A Mark Kelly double inflicted Linfield's first loss of the season, giving Ards their first league win over the Blues in 21 years.

"I think it's a good thing for us that we're playing Glentoran on Tuesday night," said Healy.

"As far as I'm concerned there isn't a bigger game in the country than the Big Two and it doesn't matter if it's in the league, the cup or the Shield, it's still a massive game when the Big Two go at it.

"I'll be taking it very seriously and I'm sure Glentoran will be too. I will be doing everything I can to make sure our performance is better and our attitude is better."

Reflecting on Saturday, Healy explained: "There's no point in overreacting to one defeat. There's always going to be bumps along the way and this is one.

"That's not to say I'm not disappointed with this performance, because I am, but I don't get carried away with victories, so I'll not get carried away with this defeat.

"In all honesty, I'm scratching my head wondering how we put that level of performance in. We have so much quality in this side and we displayed none of it against Ards."

Linfield's large traveling support believed the Blues should have been awarded three penalties. Gareth Tommons blocked a Robbie Garrett cross with his hand, Craig McClean appeared to trip a Linfield forward inside the area and referee Evan Boyce awarded a free-kick for handball late in the game, when the incident looked to have to occurred inside the box.

"I'm not going to make excuses," said Healy.

"You can talk about decisions, but I'm not going to blame anyone else for this result. Sometimes things go in your favour, sometimes they don't. That's life. We have to learn from this defeat and just take it on the chin."

Ards boss Colin Nixon said: "I came here today quite emotional," he said. "I lost a good friend, William Gillespie, to cancer yesterday and I would like to dedicate this performance to him."

ARDS: Johnston, Byers, Elebert, Taylor, McClean, E McAllister (Mitchell, 7 mins), J Kelly, Tommons (Cherry, 70 mins), Nelson, D McAllister, M Kelly (McLellan, 77 mins). Unused subs: Mooney, Kerr, McAleenan, McArthur

Linfield: Carroll, Mitchell (Stewart, 72 mins), Robinson, Callacher, Clarke, Millar (Waterworth, 65 mins), Garrett (Quinn, 65 mins), Mulgrew, Kearns, O'Connor, Cooper.

Unused subs: Stafford, Doyle, Fallon, Casement.

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

Man of the match: Mark Kelly

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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