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Full Time

Healy 'embarrassed' as boss admits Premiership title race is out of Linfield's hands

Linfield 3 Warrenpoint Town 3

By Alex Mills

Linfield manager David Healy said he was 'embarrassed' after his side surrendered the lead to a last gasp Warrenpoint equaliser during Saturday's 3-3 draw.

Matthew Tipton's visitors produced a performance of guts and tenacity at Windsor Park, suggesting there is little prospect in them making an instant return to Championship football. Make no mistake about it, little Warrenpoint Town were worth the point they left with - they perhaps deserved even more.

It was no surprise the Linfield boo boys were out in force again after another calamitous performance. The Blues' Danske Bank Premiership trophy defence is evaporating at an alarming rate - they are now a whopping 14 points adrift of Coleraine.

"The gap is too big and certainly larger than I'd hoped for at this stage of the season," said former Northern Ireland striker Healy. "I'm hugely disappointed to the degree that I feel a wee bit embarrassed.

"We lacked courage. We needed a big courageous performance from our players and we didn't get it. It's probably out of our hands now (the title race)."

From the moment Conor McMenamin curled home a freak corner kick, the writing was on the wall for Healy's men. Yes, they responded with strikes from Andy Waterworth and Andy Mitchell, from the penalty spot, but that man (Darren) Murray struck a beauty to level matters just before the break.

Even when substitute Stephen Fallon shot the Blues in front with merely five minutes on the clock, the ailing Blues failed to see it out.

Anto Reilly went down under a challenge from young Ryan Strain and referee Keith Kennedy pointed to the spot. Martin Murray did the rest with a low drive into the bottom corner.

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Nice one: Warrenpoint team-mates congratulate Darren Murray

"It was a great performance," beamed Point forward Darren Murray. "But we have been doing that in games, scoring goals and creating chances. We were unfortunate not to get anything from the Crusaders match last week."

With the transfer window about to open next month, Murray's name is never far away from transfer speculation.

He added: "I am just continuing to play as well as I can for the club. Until I'm told otherwise by the chairman or the manager, I'll keep doing that."

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Haughey, Waterworth, Lowry, J Stewart (C Stewart, 62 mins), Millar, Clarke, Casement, Mitchell (Strain, 75 mins), Quinn (Fallon, 83 mins). Unused subs: Robinson, Rooney.

Warrenpoint: Parr, Foster, Dane, Mackle, M Murray (Moan, 90 mins), McMenamin, D Murray (TJ Murray, 90 mins), S Murray, Wallace, McGrandles (Forde, 87 mins), Reilly. Unused subs: Roohi, Turker.

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

Man of the match: Darren Murray

Match rating: 8/10

Belfast Telegraph

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