O'Connor double sends Linfield six clear but win comes at injury cost
Newry City 0-2 Linfield
Michael O'Connor's first league goals since October sent Linfield six points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a 2-0 win over Newry City on Tuesday evening.
While both the Mid-Ulster Cup and North West Cup finals were postponed due to snow, O'Connor netted twice and Linfield goalkeeper Gareth Deane saved a penalty to keep the club's eighth clean sheet in nine matches. It's now 663 minutes since the Blues last conceded a league goal.
The win didn't come without cost as Andrew Mitchell left the pitch on a stretcher during the second half, replaced by St Mirren loanee Kyle McClean.
O'Connor opened the scoring after eight minutes, converting Niall Quinn's inch-perfect cross after a stunning long-range pass from Jimmy Callacher set the left-sided player clear.
The Blues thought they would have the opportunity to double the scores after 36 minutes when referee Arnold Hunter seemed to point to the penalty spot only to change his decision.
Newry went close to levelling either side of the break, first when substitute Karl Moody's shot came off the post and then when Dale Montgomery had a chance from the spot, only to see his penalty well stopped by Deane after Jimmy Walker had been fouled by Mitchell.
The Linfield keeper's efforts were doubly rewarded when O'Connor bagged his second goal soon after, converting another low left wing cross, this one from Joel Cooper.
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Linfield are now six points clear at the top of the table, although have played a game more than second-placed Ballymena United. Crusaders are a further three back, having played the same number of games as the Blues.
Newry are just two points off the bottom of the league but have a game in hand on basement side Ards. Dungannon are eight points clear of Darren Mullen's men.
Belfast Telegraph Digital