Darren Murphy has warned he is ready to turn to Dungannon Swifts’ reserve side because some of his first team squad are not giving 100% effort, writes Adrian Rutherford.
The Dungannon boss has indicated that the club’s up and coming players could be given their chance to shine in the closing weeks of the campaign.
Murphy was left bitterly frustrated by a second dismal performance in a row as Linfield cruised to an emphatic victory at Stangmore Park.
He accused some players of not working hard enough and promised to make changes ahead of this weekend’s Mid-Ulster derby against Portadown.
And he is ready to turn to the reserves – who will be managed by Rodney McAree following his return to the club – to shake things up.
“If it keeps going the way it’s going then they will play, they might as well,” he said.
“There are some young lads who are performing well like Jarlath O’Rourke, Mark McConnell, Chris Lowe and Ryan Devlin.
“They are all still young, 17 years of age, but sometimes the thing you get with kids is an honest shift and a performance.
“So why not throw them in and see what they can do because they will obviously serve up better than what was served up in the last 20 minutes on Saturday.”
Up until the 68th minute, when Gary Browne fired Linfield in front, it had all been going to plan for Dungannon.
They had taken an early lead via Ryan Harpur and, although Linfield soon levelled, the home side were well in the game.
But Browne’s goal was the catalyst for a collapse, and Philip Lowry and Mark McAllister added further goals to claim the points.
Murphy branded his side’s second half performance as “unacceptable”.
“I don’t look at a game over 45 minutes, I look at it over 90 minutes,” he added. “Over the course of the 90 minutes Linfield were the better side.”
Having survived an early scare when Michael Carvill’s low strike came back off the upright, Swift snatched a 20th minute lead.
Matt Hazley’s shot was too much for goalkeeper Ross Glendinning – playing because of an injury to Alan Blayney – but Harpur fired home the rebound.
However, just like at Glenavon the previous weekend, Dungannon conceded soon afterwards, Brian McCaul heading home Carvill’s cross.
Jonny Curran came to Swifts’ rescue two minutes later, making a vital last-ditch block to thwart Matthew Tipton after he beat the offside trap.
But it proved in vain as Linfield seized control in the second half.
They took a 68th minute lead when Browne, on in place of the injured Tipton, slotted home after a surging run from Billy-Joe Burns.
Browne then turned provider as his cross from the left set up Lowry, and he took a touch to control before converting from close range
McAllister made it 4-1 late on, scoring with a shot across goal following a cross from Ross Clarke.
The defeat could have been even more emphatic for Dungannon but for several impressive saves from Curran in the closing minutes.