Irish Premiership: Linfield 3-1 Institute

Linfield beat Institute 3-1 at Windsor Park to move two points clear at the top of the Irish Premiership.

Linfield moved two points clear at the top of the Premiership thanks to a 3-1 win over Institute at Windsor Park.

The start was delayed for over 30 minutes because of a floodlight failure and Chris Hegarty headed in to give the Blues an early lead.

Stephen O'Flynn levelled with a header but Andy Waterworth fired home seconds before the break to make it 2-1.

Stephen Lowry slotted in the third amid claims of offside and Institute boss Paul Kee was sent-off for dissent.

Linfield fans were given the perfect start after the floodlight delay with Hegarty connecting with an Aaron Burns cross for the opener in the second minute.

Burns shot wide at the back-post before O'Flynn headed in from Cormac Burke's cross after nine minutes.

Linfield striker Andy Waterworth gets his shot away despite pressure from three Institute players
Linfield striker Andy Waterworth gets his shot away despite pressure from three Institute players

It was a rare opening for the visitors as the Blues dominated and Institute keeper Eugene Ferry made two superb saves to deny Linfield.

Ferry turned Niall Quinn's free-kick round the post before saving with his feet as Michael Carvill raced clear on goal.

Linfield continued to press and Waterworth twice went close before netting from Ivan Sproule's cut-back.

Institute wasted an opportunity to equalise seven minutes into the second half when the unmarked Thomas McBride headed wide from six yards.

There was controversy over Linfield's third goal on 63 minutes - Lowry's clinical strike from 20 yards hit the bottom corner but the flag was up for offside, given for a Blues player standing in front of Ferry.

Linfield players protested and referee Evan Boyce awarded the goal after consulting with his assistant.

This sparked Institute protests, with players surrounding the referee and assistant while Kee was sent off after coming on to the pitch to remonstrate.

Linfield continued to carve out chances and substitute Paul McVeigh hit the side-netting before Ferry kept out Ross Clarke's shot.

A comfortable win for the Blues while Institute remain ninth and four points off the bottom.