Linfield arrived at Shamrock Park for their second trip of the season to Shamrock Park. At lot has happened since the last visit, on the opening day of the season.
Back then, we were curious to see if a new look Linfield could make a title challenge. Today, we were curious to see if Linfield could see out the remaining 8 games of the season to secure the title.
Portadown’s league position, and the fact they have European football to play for, made this the toughest game (with respect to Dungannon and Coleraine) before the split.
Before you could say “This is Linfield’s toughest game before the split”, Linfield were 1-0 up. An attacking move saw Philip Lowry break through into the penalty area, only for his shot to hit the post. Thankfully, Andrew Waterworth was in prime position to slot home the rebound.
It was his first goal in three games, but such has been his contribution in terms of assists and link-up play, he’s the sort of player who can go a couple of games without a goal without anyone noticing.
It was 12 seconds by my watch, 18 seconds according to the BBC. Whatever the official time, it’s one of the quickest goals i’ve ever seen in the flesh.
It would be an understatement to say it was a perfect start. Unfortunately, Linfield couldn’t build upon it. Portadown thankfully, didn’t offer much of an attacking threat, but you knew Linfield needed a 2nd goal, as there was always the possibility that Portadown could get something out of nothing.
Guess what? Portadown scored with their only real attempt on goal to send the teams level at half-time.
Despite this setback, Linfield carried on attacking, with Aaron Burns firing just wide. There was also an Andrew Waterworth shot fired over from a Jamie Mulgrew cross/shot.
The chances were being created, we just needed them to go in.
Linfield started the the second-half in the same form, but didn’t score inside the first minute.
Linfield had chances, but they kept being wasted. It looked set to be a frustrating afternoon. Thankfully, Waterworth got his second of the game with just under 20 minutes to go.
This time, the lead would not be given away. Once Linfield went 2-1 up, Portadown didn’t look like scoring, which is surprising for a team with Gary Twigg and Darren Murray.
It was Linfield who were the most likely to score the next goal in the game.
They didn’t get it, but didn’t need it.