Ballinamallard Utd 1-3 Linfield

Two second-half goals by Michael Carvill helped ease the pressure on David Jeffrey as Linfield earned a Premiership win at Ballinamallard.

Chris Curran and Andy Crawford missed Mallards chances and Danny Keohane hit the woodwork before Michael Gault nodded the Blues ahead on 40 minutes.

Andy Crawford levelled on the stroke of half-time but Carvill restored Linfield's lead on 57 minutes.

As the Blues took control, Carvill volleyed the clinching goal on 75.

Blues boss Jeffrey made four changes from last weekend's disappointing 1-1 draw at Lisburn Distillery with Alan Blayney, Peter Thompson and Billy Joe Burns all returning to the team and Ross Clarke also handed a start.

However, the Blues struggled early on as Ballinamallard looked the busier outfit.

Curran blazed over a glorious close-range chance on 20 minutes and Keohane's hitting the woodwork was then followed by Crawford lobbing agonisingly wide after Blayney's unwise dash off his line.

However, Linfield gradually began to impose themselves on the contest and Mallards keeper Alvin Rouse made two great saves to deny Thompson.

The Blues did take the lead five minutes before the interval as the impressive Gault headed Carvill's cross past Rouse.

But Ballinamallard were on terms before the break as Crawford finished off a glorious sweeping move with a superb low finish.

The half-time break saw around 30 spectators staging a protest on the halfway line arising from Belfast City Council's decision to change its policy on the flying of the Union Flag.

The protest - which appeared to be unchallenged by the match stewards and police on duty - lasted for the duration of the half-time break before the supporters eventually walked off the field.

Linfield took control of the contest after the resumption.

Lowry, who replaced youngster Clarke in the 48th minute, set up a chance for Thompson but the striker fluffed his lines before seeing his attempted follow-up blocked.

However, Carvill did restore the Blues lead with a near-post header on 57 after a well worked free-kick involving Billy Joe Burns and Gault.

The points were secured as Carvill volleyed in a superb goal on 75 after Mark Stafford's attempted defensive header.

David Kee went close for the Mallards on 85 but Linfield had done enough although the win still leaves them 14 points adrift of leaders Cliftonville.