Irish Premiership: We looked 'edgy' in Larne defeat but will respond - Linfield boss David Healy

David Healy
Healy's side need a point from their last two league matches to win the league

Linfield boss David Healy has insisted his team will respond after looking "edgy" as they missed the opportunity to seal the title by losing to Larne.

A 90th-minute Josh Robinson goal grabbed a 2-1 win for Larne at Windsor Park and meant the holders' lead over Coleraine was reduced to five points.

Healy's men are away to the Bannsiders on Tuesday week before going to Cliftonville in their final Irish Premiership game.

"I'm disappointed," he said.

"We were up for it today. I think we probably looked a bit edgy and a bit nervy because we knew what was at stake but the boys have given me so much this year.

"They are disappointed in there but they are honest, they are humble and hard-working. They normally respond so it is another opportunity to respond [in the Irish Cup semi-final] on Tuesday night."

With Coleraine having beaten Crusaders in Saturday's early kick-off, Linfield went into their match with their lead cut to five points and knowing that a win would secure the Irish Premiership title.

Jamie Mulgrew
Larne goalscorer Josh Robinson is a former Linfied team-mate of Jamie Mulgrew

A draw would also almost certainly have been enough as the Blues' goal difference is 22 better than their title challengers. That remains the case ahead of their last two league matches, before which they have an Irish Cup semi-final against Ballymena United on Tuesday night and a possible final on Friday night.

The Gibson Cup holders, who are aiming for a third consecutive title, fell behind to a Ronan Hale goal after half-time. Niall Quinn equalised five minutes from time before Robinson's dramatic late winner.

"I thought we got ourselves out of jail with the goal we got," he added.

"Larne were very good, they probably deserved to be in the lead while I don't think we played as well as we can, certainly on our home pitch.

"Larne made it difficult for us. We got a big goal with Niall scoring but then we conceded. In hindsight, when I look back on the last three or four minutes with the experienced players we have, we should have managed the game a bit better.

"Again, though, you have to give my players huge respect for where we are, it is still very much in our own hands."

We have our own agenda - Kearney

James McLaughlin
McLaughlin's goal was enough for all three points for Coleraine at Seaview

Coleraine went into their match at Seaview knowing that only a win would keep their slim hopes of winning the title alive.

James McLaughlin came off the bench to score their goal and they now have 10 days without a match before the Linfield encounter, but manager Oran Kearney said they will not be using the break from matches as a rest period.

"We'll not take a break because we have played too much and haven't trained enough. We will get three or four really good training sessions in to make sure that we sharpen everyone up and are ready for the next one," he said.

"We have our own agenda and today was about coming and picking up three points, no matter what anyone wants to talk about the scenario or what happens.

"I haven't even laid eyes on next Tuesday night or thought about it as there was so much thought that went into today's game. We have our own agenda and that is to win our last two games of the season.

"It is important that we just keep cracking on. We know what we have to do, we know that we have to win two games of football and that is all that we are setting our minds on. "

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport