Linfield’s David Healy happy at hard-earned recovery from ‘soft’ first half

Linfield manager David Healy celebrated hard-earned success on Saturday after turning the tables on a ‘soft’ first-half performance to defeat Portadown by 3-2.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:00 am
Linfield boss David Healy celebrating at Shamrock Park on Saturday. Pic by Pacemaker.

The defending champions had to regroup twice after conceding to Portadown’s Ruairi Croskery and Lee Bonis before the half-time interval.

But the Blues, bolstered by a vocal visiting support at Shamrock Park, cut the gap when Christy Manzinga then Matt Green, on 23 and 67 minutes respectively, each found the net.

Late Linfield pressure then produced a winning goal in style as Manzinga’s long-range drive capped a powerful performance from the in-form forward with his second of the afternoon on 85 minutes.

“I thought we were soft in the first half,” said Healy. “We weren’t getting about the game...I thought we were too easily brushed off it in attacking areas, I thought we were soft defensively and too easily pushed off it defensively.

“We gave up a couple of really, really poor goals.

“The second goal bang on half-time is something that we will have a look at and, hopefully, we don’t see too much of that going forward.

“I thought we were deserved winners, even though the longer it goes you start to think that it’s going to be one of those days and you’re not going to create the right opportunity.

“But we kept going and kept going and I don’t know how many times we were in the final third in the second half.”

Manzinga fired home Linfield’s first equaliser with a close-range strike inside the area following a Blues break.

Green stepped off the sidelines to score his first Linfield goal by turning home a superb cross from the excellent Kirk Millar for 2-2, following a surging run from deep by another Linfield substitute in Stewart.

Manzinga made his mark in spectacular fashion to seal victory for Linfield by firing home from distance during a wonderful individual display of power and pace from wide on the left.

“The two changes that we made, Jordan (Stewart) and Matt (Green) coming on, did give us a bit of a spark,” said Healy. “When you bring subs on you are always hoping for some sort of reaction – sometimes it can be a negative one and maybe you’ve changed it when you shouldn’t have changed it – but the two subs came on and gave us a spark.

“And without ever looking like we were going to run away with the game, I think we deserved with the amount of pressure that we had.

“Portadown, to their credit kept going, but I think we got stronger as the game went on.

“We haven’t played in two weeks and maybe there was a bit of sting taken out of us - and not so much a lack of match practice, because we have played 11 v 11 in-house, but match game time against opposition.

“It could have been easy to maybe think that it wasn’t going to be our day and we’d let it fizzle out into a 2-2 draw, but they kept going and got us an important three points.”

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