Irish Premiership: Linfield 3-2 Portadown

Linfield ease past Portadown at Windsor Park in the Irish Premiership

Linfield extended their lead at the top of Premiership table to four points as they beat Portadown at Windsor Park.

The Blues had to come from behind after an early mistake by keeper Jonathan Tuffey allowed Chris Casement to score.

But the Blues levelled on 13 minutes as Andy Waterworth headed home after David Miskelly had flapped at a corner.

Jamie Mulgrew's low cross went all the way into the net on 19 minutes and Mark McAllister lobbed a superb third on 53 before Darren Murray's late reply.

With Crusaders's 24-game unbeaten record ending at the Ballymena Showgrounds, Linfield now lead the table by four points from last season's champions Cliftonville.

The Blues got off to a bad start in Saturday's game but they responded quickly to dominate the majority of the contest.

Admittedly, Gary Twigg did miss a glorious chance to equalise when the scoreline was 2-1 but Portadown can have few complaints with Linfield's victory.

Former Linfield player Casement put the Ports ahead in the second minute as Tuffey allowed a free-kick to slip through his grasp when a routine save appeared on the cards.

However, the Blues got on terms in the 13th minute as Miskelly was unable to get in a clean punch at Mark Clarke's corner which allowed Waterworth to nod over the line from close range.

Tuffey atoned somewhat for his earlier blunder as he made a full-length save to tip away another Casement free-kick away for a corner.

But Linfield were starting to attack at will and they took the lead on 19 minutes as Mulgrew's low cross went all the way into the net after a clever Waterworth dummy.

Twigg missed his great chance in the 27th minute as he fired wide from the edge of the box with only Tuffey to beat.

But Linfield continued to dominate possession with Aaron Burns testing Miskelly and Waterworth also going close for the Blues.

The contest was effectively over by the 53rd minute as McAllister produced a glorious lobbed finish as the Portadown defence, not the first time, failed to deal with a long ball.

McAllister and Aaron Burns went close to notching a fourth goal for Linfield while Waterworth then missed an absolute sitter as he embarrassingly mis-kicked.

As Linfield lost their way in the closing minutes, Tuffey made a fine save to deny Murray in the final minute of normal time although the Portadown striker should have buried the chance.

In the second minute of added time, Murray did find the net but it was too late for the Ports whose slim home of getting back into the title race are now surely over as they slip 10 points behind the leaders.