Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cliftonville 2 Linfield 2

Irish Premier League

Solitude, Monday 24th September 2007

Linfield: Mannus, Ervin, McShane, Gault, Lindsay, Mulgrew, McAreavey (O'Kane 90), Dickson (Mouncey 52), Ferguson, Stewart, Bailie. Subs not used : Douglas, Murphy, McCann

Goalscorers: Ferguson (57), Stewart (72)

The author managed to become an Exile for this game, the IPL's first ever live on Sky Sports, once more despite having a ticket by 'misplacing' his passport and thus missing his flight on the morning of the game :cry: So it was a friendly Irish pub in the centre of Berlin for me (I was the only one watching)...

Here's my thoughts:

Watching it on TV on your own, away from your sphere of influence, certainly seems to have an effect on your perception of the game.

I thought Spike was one of our better players, but agree with DGIG as I said on Sunday, we still relied on the hoofball FAR too much, and unless DJ changes the way he thinks about things like tactics, we're in big trouble once Spike goes.

I thought Gault was terrible, I texted Bluenose at HT with the phrase 'Gault is not a footballer', his passing is simply atrocious, and I swore I saw him knock the ball too far once last night so he he could tackle it to his fellow player, his best pass, I felt.

Maccers was decent, he's still the only one to put the foot on the ball and (at least try to) pick out a through ball and pass, contrast Cliftonville's passing cutting us open at will in the 1st half, with our laboured efforts.

Dicko is way off the boil. McShane had a shocking first half, a bit better in the second, but his set pieces and play were terrible, what must O'Kane be thinking?

And Noel... was poor. As with O'Kane, Winkie must be scratching his head.

Liked the look of Tommy up front, both our goals were well-worked. I was disappointed we didn't win as well. Their first? Mannus maybe at fault, but it was a wicked inswinger, a cracking free-kick. And I wouldn't blame Mannus for the 2nd, their sub came on and no-one seemed to notice him or pick him up.

I thought it was a great advert for the IL. Can't comment on the singing though, only Oirish/ folk music in Berlin for me.

Highlights here:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ballymena 0 Linfield 3

CIS group stage, 15th September 2007

Team: Mannus, Douglas, Lindsay, Bailie, McShane (Hogan 83), Mulgrew, Gault, Dickson (Mouncey 66), Curran (O’Kane 66), Ferguson, Thompson (subs not used: McAreavey, Murphy

Goals: Thompson (10), Ferguson (45), Mouncey (69)

I have to admit from the start that I wasn't at the game, as I was, err, surfing in Portrush, ahem, free food and drink on work was involved too...

According to my reliable sources, the Blues played well and controlled things, without ever really getting out of 2nd gear against a poor Ballymena side. The midfield, minus the rested/ dropped Maccers, were really good, esp Mulgrew and MOTM Gaulty in the centre. Curran had another, erm, 'quiet' game, Pat McShane and Noel Bailie returned, and yet again, opinion was divided on the contribution of Ferguson, dominant and everywhere on the one side, too many fancy flicks and no more pace and drive on the other. Thompson finally got back on the scoresheet, and apparently Mouncey was great when he came on.

Well done to Liam Hogan, a left-back/ central midfielder, whose impressive performances for the Swifts earned him a call-up, and a first appearance for the first team as sub, the first of hopefully many.

On a related topic, the Ballymena fan protest against David Jeffrey never materialised.

Poor quality highlights available here, again Mitchell Ali isn't recoding them with his super-duper technology, so you're left with me filming the TV with an average digital camera:

Next up, the Reds at Windsor on Tuesday in the 2nd round of the CAS. Bring it on.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nostalgia Time

Linfield 0 Glentoran 2

Windsor Park, Tuesday 2nd February, 1988.

A non-descript game, you might think, but anyone who was there would probably not forget it. Not necessarily because of the game itself, but because of the weather.

I have NEVER experienced anything like it in my long life as a football fan. I was only a kid at the time, and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. As a prelude: The original game, the Boxing Day 1987 game, was abandoned after 47 minutes because of fog, with the Blues leading 2-1 (I forget the scorers now, maybe someone could enlighten me, McCleod and Burrows?) and rightly so, we were standing on the Kop and couldn't see past the halfway line.

The return game witnessed the worst conditions I have ever seen at a football match. It was like a tropical storm in the middle of winter. Complete with non-stop torrential rain and Arctic sub-zero temperatures, combined with a strong wind. Again, I was in the Kop, I remember loads leaving at half-time as it was too cold, I remember huddling with my dad at the wall to the North Stand as it provided a modicum of shelter. I don't remember why they wouldn't let us go into the North Stand for shelter and dryness from the elements, were Glenmen in there? And some of the players were treated for exposure, they didn't have to just stand in it for 90 minutes. I was soaked to the skin. I remember little from the game, only that the Glens played better and deserved to win, the ball flew like lightning over the wet surface, any long high balls were pointless and a lottery in the wind and rain, and that the match should probably have been called off, but as it was already a re-organised game, they probably didn't want to. Didn't we lose the league that season by only a few points? Such is life.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Exile Interviews - Sin

September's Exile on South Stand Says is the opinionated, outspoken, South-West Laandaner, sin:

Exile Interviews - Sin

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Linfield 1 Dungannon Swifts 1

CIS Group Stages

1st September 2007, Windsor Park

Team: Mannus, Douglas, O’Kane (McCann 77), Murphy, Lindsay, McAreavey, Gault, Ferguson, Curran (Stewart 77), Thompson, Dickson (Mulgrew 77)

Scorer: Ferguson (21)

Attendance: ca. 1000


I thought it best to wait till now to post, I was too p*ssed off after the match.

Back to the usual hoofball up to the forwards, meat and drink for any IL centre-half worth his salt, mainly cos we couldn't string 3 passes together all day. Typical of this was our last passing move of the day, the awful Douglas, having already sliced/hoofed/mishit x balls to anyone but someone in a Blue shirt all game, decided to play a long ball across the back, which, via another Lindsay long ball, went straight out into touch. Classy.

Another big minus was DJ's bizarro substitutions. I'd have brought off:

Thompson: has been awful of late, his game is so predictable and he resembles Bambi on ice at the moment.
Maccers: I have never seen a more sluggish, unfit full-timer. His passing was terrible today too. He should have walked for that x-rated tackle (as should McCabe for the reaction).
Douglas: see above. Jim Ervin must be wondering what in God's name he has to do.

Admittedly, Jeffrey could have brought off 6 or 7, but to bring on Tim McCann, to bring off Dicko and to put on Tommy Stewart YET AGAIN at left-wing where he clearly isn't up to the task, beggared belief. How Thompson and Dougie lasted 90 mins astonished me. And to start Spike again is nonsensical (although I thought he played ok).

The Swifts had at least 4 100% chances, hit the bar, missed a one-on-one sitter, Tim McCann put McAlister off with a last-gasp challenge, and that shitebag Campbell hit the post when it was harder to miss. Make no mistake, we were lucky today. Terrible crowd as well.

We have a LOT of work to do before the league starts. Our passing and football has gone to pot. Hard to watch.