Linfield fought back from a goal down to rescue a point at Shamrock Park on Saturday afternoon.

The top of the table clash was a real six-pointer, and both sides had chances to snatch all three points.

A defensive mistake allowed Peter Thompson to equalise for Linfield ten minutes into the second half, after Sean Mackle had given the Ports the lead before the break.

The home side had taken the lead controversially, after Mackle looked to have pushed Jim Ervin shortly before he took the ball around a statuesque Blayney and placed the ball into the back of the net.

The Ports had probably edged the first half, but Linfield manager David Jeffrey made his disapproval of Mark Courtney’s failure to award the Blues a free-kick in the build-up to the goal clear, when he stormed across the pitch at the half-time interval to berate the referee. He noted after the game that ‘I didn't need confirmation from TV cameras because I had a great view and I could see there was a push on Jim’.

The Blues boss maybe dished out some of his anger to his team in the dressing room too, as the champions took to the field in the second half with renewed vigour and a pace which Ronnie McFall’s side could not cope with.

After a host of quick-fire chances, the deserved equaliser came in the 56th minute.

The Ports seemed to have averted the danger from a Linfield corner as Sean McCafferty looked to be in control of the ball and about to clear.

However, he thought that he could let the ball drift harmlessly behind for a goal kick.

Little did he know that Linfield hitman Peter Thompson was lurking dangerously, and he took full advantage to skillfully control and hammer home past Miskelly.

The pressure continued in a massively improved second-half display from Jeffrey’s side.

The gusto and tempo of their play was unmatched as they pushed for a late winner.

This was never to materialise due to wasteful finishing from Thompson, McAllister and company.

Despite failing to win the match, the 1200 travelling supporters (a sell-out) went home happy with a point, and will have taken heart from the second half display. The Blues have a knack of grinding out important results at just the right time of the season, and Saturday was no different.

They remain four points clear of Portadown at the top of the table, and this was a hugely tricky away fixture to negotiate on their way to a possible 51st league title.

The title race is far from over though, as Cliftonville will host the Blues this week in what is set to be yet another crucial game.

Linfield have a notoriously poor record at Solitude and have lost both games at the ground so far this season convincingly – 6-2 and 4-2. Anything less than a win for the home side will leave them as firm title outsiders, but a win would really put the cat amongst the pigeons at the top. Still firm favourites for the Irish League, the Blues also have the Irish Cup to play for, and will face Coagh United in the quarter-final.