Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dungannon Swifts 4 Linfield 0

IPL, Stangmore Park, Saturday 27th October 2007.

Team: Mannus, Douglas, McShane, Lindsay, Murphy, O'Kane, Mouncey, Gault, Dickson (Stewart 58), G.Ferguson, Thompson Subs not used : Bailie, McCann, Ervin, A. Ferguson

Attendance: est 1500 (1000+ Linfield fans)

From our best performance of the season to unquestionably our worst, as the Swifts recorded their first ever win over us, and fully deserved.

Being brutally honest, that was pathetic, embarrassing, and a long time coming. Let's be honest here, Tuesday night was a blip in an otherwise under-par season. Dungannon could have done the same to us at Windsor earlier in the season with a bit more luck. Granted, they did have a bit of luck and everything came off for them, but you make your own luck, we were singularly second to every loose ball and in every tackle, and they wanted it more, pure and simple.

NONE of the players, nor the manager, come out with ANY credit whatsoever for that excuse they served up today. We didn't have a shot on goal worthy of mention in the 1st half, when the wet windy conditions were screaming for shots from all angles. No, instead we served up our favourite tactic on tight pitches when we're given no space like Tuesday night, hoofball up to Spike and feeding off the scraps. But when Spike's having an off-day, we've no plan b. There was one time in the first half when Lindsay tried to come out and play it from the back, had NO outlet (badly let down by our anonymous midfield), played a loose pass, gave possession away and then got booked for a bad recovery tackle. Nobody wanted to know, or had any idea what else to do when it was clear Spike was off-colour. This makes me fearful for the future, Spike's not going to go on forever, and when all we have are workmanlike runners lacking inspiration, and no discernible idea of tactics from the bench, we're in trouble.

One of those days. Embarrassing.

We left shortly after 3-0, when it was clear we had given up the ghost and were never getting back into the game. Our folly in having 4 defenders on the bench, none of whom naturally came on despite all of the back four having shockers, was painfully exposed.

I thought it was a nice wee ground, and decent social club, although the away fans' bar was more like a beer hall, and 2.50 a pint is a bit steep for a provincial club, even Linfield is much cheaper. The fans mixed well, only the weather and my own team's abject performance put a dampener on things. The next few weeks will tell whether it is the rocket up our asses that kickstarts our season, or a worrying portent of the season to come.

Goals to come.

Linfield 5 Distillery 1

CIS League Cup Quarter Final, Windsor Park, Tuesday 23rd October 2007


Mannus, Douglas (Ervin 72), McShane (McCann 72), Gault, Murphy, Mouncey, Ferguson, Lindsay (Bailie 62), O’Kane, Thompson, Dickson Subs not used : Stewart, Hogan

Scorers: Ferguson 2 (1 Pen), Thompson, Gault (!), Murphy (!!)

Attendance: est. 500 (45 Whites fans)

Far and away our best performance of the season, as we took the surprise team of the season apart, with quick, incisive passing football. We played some great stuff, one-twos, give and gos, we looked hungry, very encouraging. It has to be said though that the Whites came to play football and thus gave us the time and space to do our thang.

A big big mention to Beckenbauer Murphy and the white Vieira! 4 of our goals were top drawer, I only managed to film Thompson's goal (oue second):

Unfortunately it looks like Ali didn't record the game. Shame, we'll not get to see re-runs of Gault scoring with his LEFT, Spike's great shot after a nice move, nor Winkie's Tony Adams-esque burst through the middle, lovely one-two, then control in the box and finish with the outside of his foot, sublime.

Shows what a passenger Maccers has unfortunately become, and how awesome we could be with everyone back Terrible crowd, though playing it on the same night as Rangers - Barcelona on the telly was a stupid move. Even more stupid is the fact that the semi, vs Newry at Mourneview, is on the same night as the corresponding fixture. The words piss-up and brewery spring to mind.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Good Old Days

Coleraine vs Linfield abandoned after 2 sendings-off and missiles fired onto the pitch.

Linfield - Glens: 3 Glens players off, seats broken and fired onto the pitch, a full scale free-for-all between the players, Linfield fans getting lynched in Midgley.

Ahhh, the good old days. Nice footage though, good work MB.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Armagh City 1 Linfield 3

IPL, Holm Park, Saturday 13th October 2007

Team: Mannus, Douglas, McShane, Murphy, Lindsay, Mouncey, Gault, McAreavey, O'Kane, Ferguson, Thompson

Subs not used : Curran, Dickson, Mulgrew, Hogan, Miskimmon

Scorers: Mouncey 2, Thompson

My first visit to Armagh City and Holm Park, and I was pleasantly surprised. BN had warned me that it was a shithole beforehand and I was expecting ploughed field-esque conditions, but it was actually a neat, tidy wee ground, surrounded by fields and cows. Ok, so it is a bit basic, no terracing at all, and a tiny 3-row grandstand, but it was friendly.

The real jewel in the crown was the social club, on the first floor overlooking the pitch, and you don't have to pay to get in there! Beers were cheap, about 2 quid, and the staff were friendly, we got there well early at 1.30 (would have been earlier except MB led us in the wrong direction, and signposts were non-existent) so we got the best seats in the house, and a few pints in before the queues started. It did get very busy, and there wern't enough staff on, but I could watch the match inside while supping a pint, superb. Chris Walker, ex-shadow dweller, walked in during the first half and took dog's abuse from the Bluemen, 'You are ugly' being one of the more printable ones, but it was all in good spirits. I stayed there till the end of the first half when I needed to pee, lost my seat, then went out and stood with BN on the terraces in the 2nd half.

So, onto the match itself. I thought it was a pretty entertaining affair, and that we played alright. We created a lot of chances, some just wide from Thompson and Spike, and scored 2 early goals from O'Kane corners, the first a header at the near post from Mouncey, the second another Mouncey header from the rebound of Spike's header that crashed against the bar. But City were creating chances themselves and pulled one back soon after with a peach of a goal, Hawthorn bringing the ball down, fooling Winkie to create space and blasting home from about 20 yeards.

We were never in danger though and Thompson scored a good 'un not long into the second half to more or less make it safe, then Mouncey (yet again) missed a penalty for his hat-trick. After that, we were on the back foot, Armagh played some good stuff and it took two goalline clearances, one from Maccers, one from Dougie to save us. Strange we didn't bring on any subs.

Positives? Mouncey was back to his old best, getting involved, being everywhere, taking on and beating players. Spike wasn't far behind him, he's still got it, and Gaulty was his industrious hard-running best.

Negatives? Our defence looked very shaky in the 2nd half, I don't think Pat is back to full form yet, Maccers was average again, he's easily beat and still struggles for fitness, how anyone on the radio can call for him to be in the NI squad baffles me, and O'Kane for me isn't a LM (I'd play him at LB and drop McShane). Not bringing on any subs.

Unfortunately, no pics, as I realised my formerly-broken-and-thought-fixed camera didn't actually work in the daylight after all. D'oh. Highlights possibly to follow.

Thompo's as usual excellent pics of the day here. No idea how big the crowd was, maybe 1000 Bluemen there?

Nice day all in all, AND I predicted the right score, sweet.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Linfield 1 Portadown 0

Irish Premier League, Windsor Park, 6th October 2007

Team: Mannus, Douglas, McShane, Murphy, O'Kane, Bailie, Gault, Ferguson, McAreavey (Mulgrew 87), Thompson, Mouncey (Dickson) Subs not used :Stewart, McCann, Lindsay

Scorer: Thompson (24)

Attendance: approx. 3000 (300 Ports fans)

Well apparently the Blues played well, and with good football, in the first half, creating a host of chances, and a rejuvenated Thompo scored a good goal to put us into the lead. Typically, I missed all this, and what I witnessed was poor, with Linfield second best, maybe I am a scud after all. I got in about 40 minutes as I was otherwise engaged in the North West, and watched the final 5 minutes from the Viewing Lounge, seeing Miskelly make a great save from Thompo after Spike put him through well.

But like I said, in the 2nd half, I thought Portadown were the better side. If the Ports had had a little more luck, they would have got a point, we looked lethargic and back to the same old hoofball, the Ports ominously seemed to be able to go through us easily, they missed one or two good chances, esp 2 goalmouth blocks from a corner right at the death, and we offered little outlet except for one superb run from Thompo, when he hit the side netting when a square ball would have seen us home. Turkington was crap, some bizarro decisions, simply inept.

More like it from Peter Thompson yesterday. Gaulty, as usual, worked his socks off and was everywhere, and I thought Noel played well. Don't know what to make of Maccers, another Emptyhead needless booking, the mantle has been passed on...

Poor quality highlights here for the moment:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Linfield 3 Limavady U 0

Windsor Park, 29th September 2007

Team: Mannus, Ervin, McShane, Mulgrew, Lindsay (Murphy 46), Bailie, Gault, Ferguson, Curran (O'Kane 60), Thompson, Stewart (Mouncey 46)

Scorers: Ferguson 2, O'Kane

I missed this one as I was at a stag do in Cologne, so I'll leave the analysis to the trusty East Belfast Blues, whose opinions I nearly always agree with (except O'Kane!):

Didn't get out of second gear, with the first half again proving that we can't play 4-3-3. STOP ****ING PLAYING IT!Second half was better, depsite the opposition being poor.Mouncey again made the difference, time for Tim to start.


Thomas Stewart (why was he subbed )
Michael Gault... the Gaulty of two seasons ago, outstanding
Jamie Mulgrew... hopefully he's alright, he's been fantastic lately
The return of Winkie, depsite not having an awful lot to do
O'Kane's goal Why the **** isn't he starting ahead of Curran
Tim Mouncey. When he's on we play football, he seems to be back to his best
Spike... magnifco


4-3 f***ing 3... time to knock it on the head
Pat McShane's passing
Damien Curran... i'm sorry, but he really is woeful, how does he get on ahead of O'Kane
Stupid substitutions, which led to us finishing with 10 men.

3 points and job done, but we can play a lot better than and will have to throughout the course of the season.

Highlights thanks to Mitchell Ali here: