Linfield have bounced back to winning form on Monday evening with a 2-1 win over Cliftonville after their humiliating Irish Cup exit to Queen’s.
Their win returns them to the top of the Danske Premier League on goal difference, ahead of Glentoran and the Reds, with Crusaders a point behind and Coleraine only slightly further adrift.
David Healy admitted to the media he was happy to move on from the “biggest low” of his managerial career with Monday’s spirited win at Solitude. Linfield went ahead after just fourteen minutes when referee Raymond Crangle punished Liam Bagnall for handball from an Ethan Boyle shot and, from the subsequent spot-kick, Andrew Mitchell stepped up to beat Richard Brush.
Cliftonville equalized just thirteen minutes later when Joe Gormley’s dinked a finish over Ferguson after Boyle had been caught in possession.
Linfield substitute Mark Stafford scored what ended up being the winner just eleven minutes in to the second half when he broke free at the back post to volley home from Boyle’s flick. Shayne Lavery might have added a third just after the hour but was thwarted by Brush as he closed down on goal.
Cliftonville pressed for the equaliser, and almost grabbed it with a couple of minutes remaining only for Stafford clearing a Ryan Curran touch off the line.
Then, in stoppage time, Aaron Donnelly sent a corner against the outside of the post while, with almost the last move of the game, he just missed making a connection to Ronan Doherty’s cross when any touch would found the net.
David Healy told Linfield FC’s website, “I am proud of the players. It has been a tough week, a long week.”
“Credit to the players. We trained five times this week so you always worry it could go either way.But we got a response out of the players in horrendous conditions. But I thought from half-time onwards we were by far the better team.”
“They came in and threw everything at it the last five minutes. It would have been an injustice if we hadn’t seen the game out.But I am proud of the players after a tough week. I am sure they have read and heard about every article talking about losing to Queen’s last week. I was gutted, it hit me hard. But I am on record saying how proud I am managing this football club.
“My life was miserable from last Saturday.”
Speaking of Monday night’s win he said “It is only one game and three points, but it showed today that people doubting us, and the questions marks, and that I have lost the dressing room and we have gone soft.
“Hopefully that’s the start of a wee bit of run we can go on and get a proud Linfield team out on the pitch week in, week out.
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