David Healy returned to the scene of his first match as Linfield manager, the focus on three points, as the Irish League season reached the milestone point of the last game before the split.
It wasn’t going to be easy, as Milltown was a ground Linfield usually struggled at, despite winning all three of their previous visits.
Their first visit in January 2014 saw three late goals saw Linfield win 3-2. Later that year, in November, Linfield again needed a late winner after coming from behind.
Both those goals were won with a goal from Mark Haughey. Warrenpoint would have been glad to know he was suspended for this game.
Such is the strength of Linfield’s squad these days, that this absence was easily covered with Sean Ward going into central defence, with his place in midfield going to Stephen Lowry, his first start since returning from injury.
Linfield’s other win at Warrenpoint, in October 2015, was David Healy’s first game in charge. Though the score was 3-0, Linfield struggled for large parts of that game, surviving a penalty miss at 1-0, before clinching the game with two late goals.
Linfield were straight on the attack, issuing a statement of intent when Ross Gaynor agonisingly firing across goal in the first minute.
There wasn’t long to wait until the opening goal, as Aaron Burns fired home after a cross from Kirk Millar on 3 minutes.
Millar himself was on the scoresheet after 9 minutes when he scored from close range after a Jimmy Callacher header was cleared.
Inbetween those two goals, Callacher had a header saved on the line.
Given recent struggles at Warrenpoint, Linfield fans would have been happy to be 1-0 up after 9 minutes, never mind 2-0 up.
Despite the early goals, Linfield struggled after that, with Warrenpoint having chances, only to be thwarted by a combination of their own indecisiveness and last gasp defending by Linfield.
On 30 minutes, Ross Gaynor put the result beyond doubt when he drilled home from the edge of the box.
Despite that, no matter what the score, if a team trailing gets an early second-half goal, they’ll believe they came come back to win the game.
An early goal did come in the second-half, but it was for Linfield, a penalty after Kirk Millar was fouled.
Having both scored penalties in recent weeks, Aaron Burns and Ross Gaynor had a more civil discussion than the one that preceded Burns penalty against Glenavon at the end of February, settling the arguement with a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Burns had the penalty taking ability to back up his playground games ability and made it 4-0 to Linfield.
Soon after, it was 5-0 when Andrew Waterworth was unable to get on the end of a cross, it fell perfectly for Kirk Millar to score from close range.
You have to take every advantage you can in the title race, and Linfield knew they needed to make every goal count to give them a goal difference advantage over Crusaders.
There were three more goals in the game, unfortunately, two of them came for Warrenpoint, with David Kee’s goal to put Linfield 6-1 up sandwiched inbetween.
If only Warrenpoint’s consolations were the worst part of the night, as supporters left the ground that Crusaders had won at Ballinamallard with a 94th minute goal in a game coincidentally refereed by Raymond Crangle.
That keeps Crusaders five points clear of Linfield, but with the sides meeting on April 9th, Linfield know that could be down to two with four games to play.
Tellingly, Linfield have the better goal difference by 2 over Crusaders. If Linfield win their remaining 5 matches and Crusaders draw 1, Crusaders will have to win by an aggregate of at least 8 goals in their 3 remaining games.
It might seem like a tough challenge, but in his short reign so far, David Healy has proved his team are up for whatever is thrown at them.
Talking of that game at Seaview, it was announced it would be all-ticket soon after the final whistle at Warrenpoint.
Not that surprising, but why was this not announced as soon as the game was confirmed last week, before the actual positions going into the split were confirmed.
Linfield fans who work during the week only have one Saturday to get get a ticket for this game, and they can only get it if they are inside Windsor Park attending the match against Lurgan Celtic.
It’s not exclusively Linfield’s fault, they have to get tickets from Crusaders. This eventuality should have been foreseen in advance as Linfield and Crusaders pulled away at the top two. Provisional arrangements should have been put in place.
As soon as the date was confirmed (before Linfield had actually secured a top two placing pre-split), arrangements should have been in place to have them on sale over the Easter period, when Linfield had a home match, and a lot of supporters were off work.
Once again, supporters are being inconvenienced. Those that do manage to get a ticket for this game will be hoping they are witnessing the day the title race turns.