EETU HAT-TRICK SINKS SKY BLUES
Eetu Vertainen hit a hat-trick as Linfield swept to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ballymena United at Windsor Park.
The Finnish striker opened the scoring with just over a quarter-of-an-hour on the clock after turning inside the area to fire a right-foot finish into the bottom right corner beyond the reach of keeper Sean O'Neill.
Ballymena might have levelled midway through the first half through Steven McCullough but his 12-yard effort was well kept out by Chris Johns.
However Vertainen doubled Linfield's lead on 36 minutes. He was played through by Andrew Clarke to tap the ball over the line at the back post.
Then, a minute into the second half, he claimed the match ball after this time being teed up by Daniel Finlayson to knock home his 14th goal of the season in all competitions.
The visitors could have pulled one back with later in the game but Sean Graham's strike from outside the area went just wide of the far post.
Linfield: Johns, Roscoe, Newberry, Shields, M. Clarke, McKee, Finlayson, Haygarth, Mulgrew, Vertainen, A. Clarke subs Millar, Hall, Devine, Pepper, Quinn, Palmer, McKay
Ballymena United: O’Neill, Nelson, Wilson, Whiteside, McDaid, Kelly, Waide, McCullough, McGrory, Gibson, Graham subs Williamson, Redman, Kane, Henderson, McVarnock, Tipton, Place