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Linfield stuttering title defence was dealt another blow from the hand of former manager David Jeffrey as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Ballymena United on Saturday afternoon.


The Blues fell behind Belfast rivals Cliftonville into fifth position and now sit 11 points behind league leaders Coleraine with just 14 games played.


It had all started so brightly for the visitors as led as early as the third minute through a strike from David Garrett.


The midfielder opened the scoring in spectacular fashion, striking low into the corner from 20 yards after Ballymena had failed to clear their lines.


That was to be as good as it got for David Healy's side, who were pegged back in the unlikeliest of circumstances just after the break.


There seemed little immediate danger when Conor McCloskey shaped to swing in a free kick from 35 yards, but the ball looped high over reserve keeper Gareth Deane and went in off the post.


And just clear of the hour mark the turnaround was complete as a Ross Glendinning goal kick was headed on and Johnathon McMurray controlled before unleashing a stunning volley past the hapless Deane.


The result moves Ballymena up into seventh position and nine points clear of the relegation play-off spot.