Irish Premiership: Linfield 2-0 Crusaders

Linfield shock league leaders Crusaders

Linfield moved into second place in the Irish Premiership by handing leaders Crusaders their first defeat since the opening day of the season.

Striker Andrew Waterworth shot in the opening goal in the 26th minute and an own goal by Crues keeper Sean O'Neill made it 2-0 early in the second half.

Linfield move above Cliftonville who could only draw 1-1 at home to bottom club Warrenpoint Town.

The Blues are six points behind Stephen Baxter's men at the top.

Injury to official causes delay

The match was held up for five minutes in the first half because of an injury to assistant referee Mark O'Brien.

The official was knocked to the ground in an accidental collision with Linfield player Kirk Millar and received medical attention before being carried away on a stretcher.

O'Brien was then taken to hospital for an assessment of what was believed to be a back injury.

Bright Blues target title challenge

Linfield's hopes of regaining the Gibson Cup for the first time in four seasons will have been boosted by this performance.

They were on top in the first half and went into the lead when skipper Waterworth blasted in at the second attempt after his initial effort had been well saved by keeper O'Neill.

Jimmy Callacher appeared to claim the second goal in the 50th minute but O'Neill, under pressure from the Linfield defender, punched the ball into his own net.

Crusaders responded valiantly but could not avoid falling to their first defeat in 21 Premiership matches.

David Kee's corner went in off keeper Sean O'Neill to put Linfield 2-0 up
David Kee's corner went in off keeper Sean O'Neill to put Linfield 2-0 up

What they said

Linfield manager David Healy: "I thought we were stronger than Crusaders today.

"If we produce more performances like that who knows what will happen.

"Even when we were going through a sticky spell in November, I said we were not out of it.

"There are a lot of points to be played for and I believe we can challenge for the title. That is what Linfield need to be doing."

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter: "The first 45 minutes did not please me one bit, but we were much better in the second.

"We were disappointed with the second goal on the line.

"I will go home pleased with the effort. I'm looking for us to perform every week the way we did in the last 40 minute here."

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