FOOTBALL: SPIKE HITS PORTS SIDE; Linfield 3 Portadown 2 Ferguson Caps Blues' Fightback but Hands Advantage to Glens
Byline: Mark McINTOSH
IN a week when Linfield boss David Jeffrey began the much anticipated Windsor Park clearout, his side finally looked as though they were playing for new contracts yesterday.
The Blues looked dead and buried at half-time as champions Portadown raced into a two-goal lead but that old never-say-die spirit came back as the Belfast men grabbed an unlikely victory.
On Tuesday night they suffered a disappointing 2-0 reverse at lowly Institute, and within two days Stuart King and Russell Kelly were made available to other clubs with the promise of more to follow.
Twenty-two players are out of contract in the summer and if Jeffrey wanted to use that as a motivational tool, it certainly worked yesterday afternoon.
Man of the match Glenn Ferguson crowned off an almost perfect display by grabbing the winner eight minutes from time, a result which will do a lot for morale both in the dressing room and in the stands.
"This is a special victory for us. It's one of the most important results we will get this season," said 'Spike' Ferguson.
"Some players are unsure about their futures and of course that is going to play on their minds, but I think everyone responded in the best way possible and that is by producing a win against the champions.
"We created more chances last Tuesday against Institute but nothing went for us but to be honest I think we were the better side against Portadown, and naturally I was delighted to get the winner."
The old killer touch in front of goal certainly hasn't deserted the former Northern Ireland international, as he found himself in the right place at the right time to stab home from 12 yards following a William Murphy flick on.
The goal sparked mass celebrations but how ironic it could prove that Linfield's victory has given a huge help to arch rivals Glentoran, who increased their lead at the top of the table.
Despite the Ports going into a 2-0 lead thanks to a superb Richard Clarke strike on 19 minutes and Gary Hamilton's equally cool finish in first half injury time, the Blues were always the better side. …