Irish Premiership: Ballymena Utd 1-4 Linfield

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Linfield beat Ballymena to cut gap at top

Linfield have closed the gap on leaders Crusaders to four points after an impressive win over Ballymena.

Andrew Waterworth headed the visitors in front at a rain-soaked Showgrounds but United hit back with Tony Kane's fine free-kick on 36 minutes.

Linfield seized control in the second half and Stephen Lowry slid in to make it 2-1 before Mark Haughey's back-post finish from a Ross Gaynor cross.

Gaynor missed a penalty before Jamie Mulgrew cracked home the fourth.

A blunder from Alan Blayney gifted Linfield the opener, with the keeper failing to reach a high ball and Waterworth sending the ball over his head and into the net.

Kane made the most a rare United chance by arrowing his 25-yard free-kick off the inside of a post and in.

The top half of the Irish Premiership table
The top half of the Irish Premiership table

Linfield had already squandered second-half openings before Lowry applied the final touch after Paul Smyth sent his shot past Blayney, only for the ball to hold up close to the line.

Gaynor provided the pinpoint delivery for Haughey's goal but he failed to target from a spot-kick after 74 minutes.

Mulgrew rifled in from 18 yards in added time as Linfield moved three points clear of the Braidmen.

What they said:

"I'm delighted - Ballymena is a tough place to come to and they are a good team," said Linfield manager David Healy.

"We were the better side in the first half and dominated the second half. We deserved to win the game.

"I was pleased with our our all-round play, we were tenacious in our tackles and blocks.

"Sone people have questioned our mentality but we answered a few of them in this game."