Rampant Linfield on course for title
Linfield 4 Dungannon Swifts 1
Ruthless Linfield marched on towards regaining the Carling Premiership title after brushing aside Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park last night.
David Jeffrey’s men now lead the chasing pack by four points, having played a game less than second-placed Cliftonville and with two in hand on third-placed Glentoran.
A Curtis Allen double and strikes from Billy Joe Burns and Philip Lowry made sure of the three points to inicrease the advantage at the top of the league.
Fresh from the Irish Cup slaying of Glentoran, the Blues were in no mood to hang about in and Burns wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring early on with a weak header wide at the back post.
Dungannon threatened to take advantage and a flowing move on 15 minutes ended with Michael Ward slipping the ball through to Ryan McIlmoyle but the alert Alan Blayney charged off his line to smother the effort with his legs.
The Blues continued to dominate however and Peter Thompson saw a header palmed over the bar before the deadlock was broken on 23 minutes.
Burns, a constant threat going forward from right-back, latched onto William Murphy’s nod across the box and planted a downward header past Alvin Rouse from 10 yards.
For all the attractive football the Swifts were producing on the break, there was precious little substance to their play and the home side took full advantage.
The difference in the sides was highlighted as Jeffrey’s troops doubled their advantage on 31 minutes.
Allen clinically picked his spot from the edge of the box although the visitors’ boss, Dixie Robinson, thought the Blues striker had used an arm to shrug off Johnny Montgomery before shooting into the bottom corner.
Rouse made a last-ditch challenge at the feet to Allen to deny a certain third goal on 38 minutes and Montgomery diverted the former Lisburn Distillery hitman’s volley behind for a corner two minutes later.
The Blues were rampant and it seemed only a matter of time before they would inflict more damage.
All lingering doubts were put to bed on 61 minutes however when Jamie Tomelty dug out a cross into the centre of the penalty area for Lowry to head his third goal in as many outings.
The joy was tempered when Ward confidently slotted a penalty past Blayney two minutes later after Tomelty had tripped McIlmoyle but normal service was restored on 69 minutes when Allen scored from close range when Thompson squared after beating a static off-side trap.
LINFIELD: Blayney, BJ Burns, Bailie, Murphy, Curran, Lowry, Garrett, Mulgrew (O’Kane), Tomelty, Thompson (McAllister 75), Allen (Munster 75). Subs not used: Ervin, Casement.
DUNGANNON SWIFTS: Rouse, Mullan, Montgomery, McMinn, McCaffrey, McIlmoyle (McCann 75), Callacher (Morgan 60), Emerson, McClean (McAlliskey 75), Adamson, Ward. Subs not used: Coney, Ferguson.
Referee: Mark Courtney (Dungannon)