Belfast Telegraph

Waterworth determined to hold starting spot after scoring on Linfield return

Ballinamallard Utd 0 Linfield 3

By Gareth Cauldwell

It was normal service resumed in front of goal for Linfield last night as striker Andy Waterworth returned from injury and hit the target.

Waterworth, who limped off injured in the second leg of the Champions League clash with Celtic, returned to help fire David Healy's side safely into the Bet McLean League Cup quarter-finals.

The Blues failed to make the breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes against Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park but after increasing the pressure after the break they found a way through as Josh Robinson headed home.

Waterworth then doubled the visitors' advantage with another header before substitute Jordan Stewart wrapped things up with a low strike.

"It's fantastic to be back, it's been a tough 12 weeks," said Waterworth. "The medical staff have been brilliant. It's nice to see the ball ripple in the net again.

"I feel tired because you need games for fitness but mentally it's great to get that first game. I'll be looking forward to trying to keep my place."

Aaron Burns had the Blues' first chance but he was denied by a good save from Richard Brush, who saved once more from Burns soon after.

Jonathan Leddy had a free-kick from 25 yards for the home side but it was straight at Gareth Deane in the visitors' goal.

Burns once more threatened at the other end but he pulled his shot wide, while Ross Clarke was the next to be denied by Brush.

Linfield ramped up the pressure in the second half and the impressive Kirk Millar poked wide before Waterworth headed narrowly over.

Brush then superbly pushed the ball over from a deflected Waterworth shot but from the subsequent corner the Blues eventually made the breakthrough with 58 minutes gone.

Millar's cross was met by Robinson, who powered in a header.

Linfield continued to press and Brush got down to gather a Waterworth effort but the Blues striker was not to be denied in the 65th minute. Millar was again the provider and Waterworth produced a fine header.

It was three in the 79th minute as Stewart swept home after Matthew Clarke's cross.

Ballinamallard Utd: Brush, McLaughlin, Taheny, Clarke, McGinty, Hutchinson (Burns, 66 mins), Curran, Martyn (Brennan, 66 mins), Leddy, Armstrong (McCann, 86 mins), Smyth.

Linfield: Deane, Robinson, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (Stewart, 75 mins), Millar, Burns, Clarke, Mulgrew, Garrett, Clarke (Stewart, 68 mins)

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

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