Michael O'Connor (08)
Michael O'Connor (56)

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Michael O'Connor scoring one of his two goals (©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton)

O'CONNOR BRACE SENDS BLUES SIX CLEAR

Two Michael O'Connor goals, one in each half, helped Linfield defeat Newry City at The Showgrounds and open up a six point lead at the top of the table.

O'Connor needed just eight minutes to open the scoring, firing home after Niall Quinn had knocked on a Jimmy Callacher cross field pass.

Newry had a chance to level soon after but Declan Carville's effort was blocked by keeper Gareth Deane.

Jordan Stewart then had the ball in the net but this was ruled out offside while a Quinn free-kick fell just the wrong side of the far post.

Newry rallied before the break, twice coming close to finding the equaliser when Jimmy Walker curled an effort just over from the edge of the box before substitute Karl Moody beat Deane but could only direct his shot against an upright.

And Newry were presented with an even better opportunity just three minutes into the second half when Walker was brought down inside the area by Andrew Mitchell but from the penalty that followed Dale Montgomery saw his shot saved by Deane.

However, Linfield doubled their advantage on 56 minutes when O'Connor bagged his second of the night with a clinical finish from Joel Cooper's cross.

Although they continued to work Newry never really looked like salvaging something from the game. Indeed, Linfield might have extended their lead through Stewart and then Cooper in the closing minutes.

Newry City: Coleman, King, Noonan, Boyle, McCann, Walker, Carville, M. Hughes, Montgomery, Pender, Healy subs Maguire (not used), Mooney (not used), Moody (replaced Pender 34), Rushe (not used), Delaney (replaced Montgomery 67), Teggart (not used), Durnin (replaced NcCann 86)

Linfield: Deane, Robinson, Callacher, O'Connor, Cooper, Stewart, Millar, Fallon, Mulgrew, Quinn, Casement subs Stafford (not used), Clarke (not used), Kearns (replaced Millar 67), McClean (replaced Mitchell 69), Doyle (not used), Mitchell (replaced Fallon 46), Reynolds (not used)

Referee: Arnold Hunter

Attendance: 976

Tags:  Linfield  Newry City