Andrew Waterworth (25)
Andrew Waterworth (54)
Mark Stafford (58)

3

Andrew Waterworth celebrates one of his two goals (Picture: William Cherry/PressEye.com)

WATERWORTH DOUBLE HELPS BLUES CLOSE GAP

Linfield closed the lead at the top of the table to five points following this home defeat of Carrick Rangers.

The visitors did well during the opening exchanges and tested the Linfield defence on ten minutes when Chris Morrow glanced at Steven McCullough corner across the face of goal.

However, Linfield moved in front on 25 minutes courtesy of an Andrew Waterworth effort into the bottom left corner after Stephen Lowry found him on the edge of the box.

Waterworth doubled Linfield's lead nine minutes into the second half. Kirk Millar took the ball past McCullough before delivering a low cross into the area for Waterworth to turn into the corner.

Then, four minutes later, Mark Stafford added a third for the Blues when he powered a header beyond Brian Neeson with Millar again providing the telling cross.

And Stafford might have added another goal moments later only to nod a Niall Quinn free-kick onto the base of a post while Lowry had a further effort tipped onto the roof of the net.

Linfield: Carroll, Stafford, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, Lowry, Millar, Ward, Mulgrew, Quinn, Smyth subs Burns (replaced Smyth 85), M. Clarke (replaced Quinn 83), Casement (not used), Frazer (replaced Mulgrew 73), Gaynor (not used)

Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Chapman, McCullough, Surgenor, McNally, Hanley, Rice, Wilson, Kelly, Morrow, McNicholl subs Taggart (replaced Morrow 62), Lavery (replaced McNicholl 70), McCaul (not used), Knox (not used), Green (replaced Hanley 46)

Referee: Ross Dunlop

Attendance: 1603

Tags:  Carrick Rangers  Linfield