Linfield’s greatest resistance came from the fog at Shamrock Park as the visitors’ title push picked up three extra points with a 5-0 win over basement-based Portadown.
Heavy conditions reduced visibility over the course of the match but three goals in seven second-half minutes cemented Linfield’s level of control after two before the break.
Stephen Lowry opened the scoring by racing into the box to smash home a return pass off Kirk Millar.
It was 2-0 thanks to a delightful strike from distance by Paul Smyth after the playmaker took full advantage of the time and space afforded by the hosts.
Linfield cemented control after half-time - with Millar’s low drive kicking off the second-half scoring on 52 minutes.
A slick break ended with Jamie Mulgrew controlling a cross on the run and heading into the penalty box before a delicate finish lifted the ball over goalkeeper Chris McGaughey.
Number five arrived thanks to Mark Stafford as Portadown struggled to react to a Mark Haughey header off a free-kick delivery.
McGaughey saved a penalty kick by substitute Ryan Strain with the final kick of the match.
PORTADOWN: Chris McGaughey, Mark Carson, Garry Breen, Keith O’Hara, Alan Byrne, Sam Simpson, Robert Garrett, Brendan Shannon, Sean Mackle, Eoin Kirwan, Aaron Haire. Subs: Conor Larkin, Zac Wilson (Mackle, 64), Tim Mouncey, Stephen Hughes (Simpson, 56), Matthew Parker (Haire, 76).
LINFIELD: Roy Carroll, Mark Stafford, Mark Haughey, Jimmy Callacher, Andrew Waterworth, Stephen Lowry, Kirk Millar, Sean Ward, Jamie Mulgrew, Niall Quinn, Paul Smyth. Subs: Chris Casement, Stephen Fallon (Lowry, 64), Ross Clarke, Ross Gaynor (Smyth, 55), Ryan Strain (Waterworth, 75).
Referee: Mervyn Smyth.