Philip Lowry praise for decade’s top two Irish League marksmen as Linfield and Crusaders face off
Jordan Owens and Andy Waterworth will each be hoping to stand alone at the final whistle today - after sharing the field for the final time this decade as the most successful Irish League strikers of the past 10 years.
Both players head into the Windsor Park clash with Owens’ Crusaders and Waterworth’s Linfield split in the Danske Bank Premiership standings by three points.
Statistics provided by the respected Marshall Gillespie show only eight goals divide the two sharpshooters in the individual league records since the start of 2010 - with Owens leading the line on 158.
Given such consistency in front of the net, it would offer little surprise if either grabbed the glory in the high-stakes Belfast derby.
The two feared forwards have thrilled fans and terrorised defenders down the years. One player with a special perspective on both is Philip Lowry, having previously shared the dressing room with Waterworth at Linfield but now returning to the ground in search of securing full points for the Crues.
“It was absolutely no shock to me to see Jordan and Andy with those figures given the goals scored by both across the past decade,” said Lowry. “They may have different playing styles but share similar traits in that both have that drive, the hunger for putting the ball in the net and love for just scoring goals.
“Also, both are extremely dedicated, superb professionals who work so hard in training.
“Andy would be considered more predatory I suppose but Jordan puts in so much work for the team overall, using his size to help defend corner-kicks for example.
“Both are top marksmen with unbelievable statistics over such a long period of time.
“Jordan is the classic target man but with a lot more to his game, Andy has such speed and movement in behind defenders and is a clinical finisher.
“As a team-mate and midfielder, with Jordan you can gamble on getting up in support knowing nine times out of 10 he is going to win the ball or hold it up and bring others into play.
“With Andy, you are looking for that pass behind but to then get up and offer support for the ball to come back to you.
“Andy’s goals-to-minutes ratio is still so strong but obviously this weekend I’m hoping Jordan is the only striker on the scoresheet.”
Lowry’s ability to get on target remains a celebrated aspect to his Crusaders contribution - even if the midfield man weighs up his value beyond bagging goals.
“There are so many players in our league with qualities that may not jump out on the highlights packages or capture the attention of the casual observer, so it’s great to be able to score goals but my game is about more than just that of course and it’s about helping the team,” said Lowry. “It’s always great to play at Windsor Park and games between Crusaders and Linfield have been feisty affairs, with both teams competing for the same trophies so often over the past number of years.
“With the quality of the Lnfield squad we expected them to be up challenging despite being behind in games due to European commitments.
“Now they sit top of the table going into Saturday and it us up to us to find a way to chase Linfield down.
“It is a big game, although it remains so early in the season and with so much football to play, even over this Christmas period - so it is just about Saturday and not a result anything bigger than that overall.
“You have seen so often already this season how teams will drop points in games and that is expected to continue due to the strength of the league overall.”