Linfield manager David Healy admitted they weren’t at their best at Milltown but thanked his players for finding a way to pick up three points in dramatic circumstances against Warrenpoint Town.
After falling behind an early goal from Steven Ball, the league leaders scored in the last minute of the first half through substitute Jordan Stewart and in the second half through Ethan Devine to steal three points.
It looked like the Blues might stumble against the bottom of the league – and they nearly lost it when Alan O’Sullivan lobbed Chris Johns but saw him bounce off the crossbar – but they somehow got him out of the way. bag late to please Healy.
“We could have lost it. Luckily the pitch was as firm as it was today – O’Sullivan lobbed the goalkeeper and luckily he bounced off the bar and three or four minutes later, we fell and found a winner,” the Linfield boss said. .
“Ethan probably didn’t have his best game today, but thanks to him he kept going and he found a way. We as a group, individually and collectively, we were nowhere near the levels that we wanted to be and that’s thanks to Barry and Warrenpoint.
“They were well organised, they changed their formation from what I saw on Tuesday and inevitably our guys stayed in the game and found a key moment.”
Ball had given Warrenpoint the lead after quarter of an hour when Declan McKenna swung a long throw-in to the back post and he was pushed off the post, and Linfield then received a knock when Eetu Vertainen hobbled .
But his replacement, Stewart, immediately made the difference as he struck on the stroke of half-time to send the two teams level at the break.
O’Sullivan looked to have potentially won the game for the hosts when he chipped Johns but, agonizingly, the ball bounced off the hard court and was carried over the crossbar.
And instead the three points went to the visitors deep in stoppage time, a corner kick was whipped into the box and striker Devine rose the highest to power a header into the net and secure the 2-1 victory.
That keeps the league leaders at the top, four points clear of Cliftonville having played one game more than their rivals, and Healy is now eyeing a top-flight clash against the Reds on April 5.
“We’re going to need a fighting performance for Solitude,” he insisted.
“We’ve had three or four good games against them already this season. They’re on fire by the minute, they’re flying, they’re around the top of the league and they’re League Cup champions, so we expect a tough game.