Linfield ease to home win over Portadown

Linfield's Reece Glendinning with Portadown's Sean Mackle
Linfield's Reece Glendinning with Portadown's Sean Mackle

LINFIELD 3 PORTADOWN 0

Warren Feeney’s Linfield sent out a clear title warning following this Danske Premiership thriller at Windsor Park.

Striker Andy Waterworth hit a glorious double before Guy Bates grabbed his first league goal for the club to not only shoot the Blues clear at the top of the table, but also maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the season.

Little wonder Feeney punched the hair to his delighted fans a the finish.

Although, they dominated for long spells, the Ports certainly gave the Blues plenty to think about over the 90 minutes.

In fact, they almost sneaked into the lead after only five minutes. Defender Ross Redman’s deep cross was met by Gary Twigg at the back post, forcing goalkeeper Ross Glendinning to tip his header over the crossbar.

But, urged on by the big home crowd, the Blues began stamp their authority on the game. Kirk Millar sent in a wonderful cross form the left which picked out Andy Waterworth, but his header lacked conviction and drifted harmlessly wide.

Millar then had the Blues faithful on their feet on 18 minutes when his superbly struck 25 yard shot crashed against the crossbar, although Ports goalkeeper appeared to get a vital touch.

Linfield almost grabbed the breakthrough five minutes later. Matthew Clarke’s deep cross found Reece Glendinning, but his header kissed the base of the post before being hoofed to safety.

McFall’s team eventually began to impose themselves on the game. Striker Darren Murray showed some neat touches when he picked up a Chris Casement cross, but Ross Glendinning got down smartly to save.

Then, former Blues favourite Robbie Garrett cut the home defence to shreds with a piercing solo dash before firsing inches wide.

The Blues were let off the hook again five minutes before the break. This time Casement’s corner kick found Chris Ramsey and his thumping header thumped the crossbar.

Then, just seconds before the whistle another Casement cross found Ken Oman, but his effort was brilliantly hoofed off the line by Jamie Mulgrew.

Linfield required only eight minutes of the new half to forge in front. Stephen Lowry, Bates and Clarke were all involved, leaving the alert Waterworth with a simple tap in.

Aaron Burns almost did it again on 55 minutes, but Billy Brennan superbly blocked the effort with his legs.

The Blues hit a killer second eight minutes later. The influential Jamie Mulgrew was sent through the middle by Bates. Brennan saved but when the ball broke back to the midfielder, he flicked the ball back into the middle and Waterworth did the rest.

Bates put the icing on what was a great performance by the Blues when he curled the ball past Brennan from just inside the box.

Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Reece Glendinning, Haughey, Ward, Clarke, Millar, Lowry (Kee 84), Mulgrew, Burns, Waterworth (Sproule 79), Bates (Quinn 89).

Subs not used: Deane, Hegarty.

Portadown: Brennan, Casement, Oman, Breen, Redman, Mackle, Ramsey (McAllister 64, Gault, Garrett, Twigg (Stewart 89), Murray.

Subs not used: Soares, Richardson, Lyttle.

Referee:A Davey (Bangor).