Monday, February 25, 2008

Donegal Celtic 1 Linfield 1

No foul, apparently

IPL, Suffolk Road, Saturday 23rd February 2008

Team: Mannus, Ervin, Murphy, Bailie, O'Kane, Mulgrew (Stewart 84), Gault, McAreavey, Curran, Ferguson, Thompson
Subs not used : Mouncey, McShane, Douglas, Dickson

Scorer: Ferguson

Attendance: 800 Linfield fans

Pish. Apparently we missed a hatful of chances, our manager was reactive as opposed to proactive with substitutions, and Cliftonville won, closing the gap to a point. Quite simply, We, with our 7 full-timers, should not be drawing with a glorified social club team.

Match summaries:

Mannus- Didn't have much to do. Unlucky for the goal, as the initial save was a good'un.

Ervin- Done his job by keeping the DC left quiet.

Murphy- Dodgy. Won a lot in the air, but looked unsettled.

Bailie- Decent enough performance, didn't do a lot wrong.

O'Kane- See Ervin.

Mulgrew- Despite the level of abuse he was getting at times, he IMO, was one our better players. He worked his balls off, tried to make things happen and his usual busy self. He tired late on, but the amount of criticism he received was pathetic.

Maccers- Did he do anything at all, all day Laziest performance i've seen in a while, although, he wasn't helped by Spike being in his face all afternoon. Not good enough today.

Gault- Our MOM, again. Nothing gets past him. Not his best performance, but he's not a miracle worker. Needed help from Maccers, and didn't get it.

Curran- Same as Maccers. He may as well not have been on ffs. He's been playing well lately, but today was terrible. Put in a few wind decent corners, with the aid of the wind, but he was totally ineffective.

Spike- Constantly taking up Maccers' position in midfield, and getting in the road. When upfront, both him and Peter were feeding on scraps, as the service to them was rubbish. Typical Spike goal, though.

Thompson- Worked his balls off, but missed one or two decent chances He put in the running, but with s***e service, not a lot more he could have done.

Stewart- Wasn't on long enough, although, he should have had a penalty. His shirt was halfway off, ffs. Like Mulgrew, took dogs abuse, yet he was only on for what? 8 mins?

DJ- Initial team selection was fine, but why the f**k does he persist in playing players that are totally nakard? It doesn't take a genius to realise that both Spike, and Maccers were wrecked.

Mouncey should have been on after 60 mins as should Stewart. Time and time again he continues to f**k things up, by not making changes at the right time.

Mannus - Had fuck all to do.

Ervin - Played ok
Murphy - Ok
Bailie - Ok
O'Kane- played well - motm

Mulgrew - Tough enough for him. Nothing seemed to go for him today. Worked hard though.
Maccers - Awful - Should have been subbed
Gaulty - Decent
Curran - Rubbish - Should have been subbed.

Spike - Ok
Thompson - Needs shooting practice.

The Midfield Failed today as did fathead Jeffrey.

Oh and the clowns in our support who give Stewart abuse before he even came on... Fuck up assholes

And summing things up nicely, old man BAT with a few choice words:

I thought we were strolling it yesterday until they scored! However we all know a team is always vulnerable when only one goal up. I am wondering why DJ made a reactive change rather than a proactive one! It was clear to everyone that Mulgrew & Curran were doing nothing on either flank and something new should have been tried. To put Tommy Stewart on with only minutes left appears to have been a panic substitution.

I say to the manager, "You have the biggest and best squad of players in the League at your disposal, they should be used to meet the best needs of Linfield Football Club. Yesterday we played a 38 year old striker in his third game in 8 days. In my opinion this was totally inappropriate. Many of our players looked tired on the heavy pitch and we used no substitutions".

Sort it out NOW. If we don't win the League with seven full-timers (and being 1 point clear) then heads should roll!!!
1 Linfield 22 17 3 2 53 17 54 36
2 Cliftonville 22 16 5 1 42 18 53 24
3 Glentoran 22 15 4 3 52 20 49 32

Linfield 2 Dungannon Swifts 1

IPL, Windsor Park, Wednesday 20th February 2008

Team: Mannus, Ervin, Murphy, Bailie, O’Kane, Mulgrew (Mouncey 66), Gault, Curran, Kearney (McAreavey 55), Ferguson (Stewart 70), Thompson
Subs not used : Douglas, Dickson

Scorers: Kearney, Thompson

So Linfield move 3 points clear at the top of the league with a hard-fought win over a notoriously tricky opponent in our game in hand over from the CIS final. Signs are promising. Match reports:

That was hard to watch.

Thompson missed far too many EASY chances and Kearney also missed a sitter.

Spike played well enough.

We played good football at times, and could have easily scored 3 or 4 more, if Thompson had of have had his shooting boots on. He could have scoed at least 5 himself

Midfield I thought were all quite quiet, even Gaulty for a change, although we always looked to be in control.

Defence was shaky(ish) and McAllister was pulling them all over the place

Overall, it's a case of job done, but we can and will play much better than that.


DC up next.

Ballymena 0 Linfield 4

IPL, Saturday 16th February, Showgrounds

Team: Mannus, Ervin, Murphy, Bailie, O’Kane, Mulgrew (Mouncey 67), Gault, Kearney, Curran, Ferguson, Thompson Subs not used : McCann, Stewart, Douglas, Dickson

Scorers: Kearney 2, Mouncey, Thompson

An immense performance, Linfield cofirming their potential as champions-elect, Oran scoring 2 goals against his former club in an impressive return to form. Here's some views:

I thought it was a very good team perfomance, with no real outstanding displays. Everyone worked their balls off and put in a solid, committed performance.

Nice to see Oran back to his old self, with a fine example of what we've been lacking for the majority of this season. Today, he was too clever for Ballymena and had them in knots, trying to keep up with his movement.

MOM though, once again, was Gaulty. If he could score more goals, he'd be unstoppable.

Watson, a transfer target of ours who has since signed a FT deal with Ballymena, apparently didn't impress at all, haven't seen him so can't judge. Still think we should give Billy Joe Burns a chance to impress, and see if sicknote Kris Lindsay can ever stay fit for more than 2 weeks at a time.

Cliftonville only draw, so we go top on goal difference!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Setanta Sports Cup 2008 - Live Matches

Setanta have released their TV schedule for their matches:

The first seven matches of the 2008 Setanta Sports Cup to be broadcast live are as follows:


Monday 10th Mar – LINFIELD v DERRY CITY

Tuesday 18th Mar – CORK CITY v DROGHEDA UTD

Monday 7th Apr – DERRY CITY v ST PATS ATH


Tuesday 15th Apr – ST PATS ATH v LINFIELD

So it's us and the Drogs on live for all 3 matches, and the Glens on for one (against us), shows who the real crowd pullers are. IO can't get watching Setanta Irelans over here unfortunately, so have to hope I can find it online. Anyone in the UK or Ireland should be able to see these games, though.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Linfield 3 Bangor 0

Irish Cup 6th round, Windsor Park, 9th February 2008

Team: Mannus, Ervin, Curran (Downey 65), Bailie, O’Kane, Lindsay (Murphy 26), Gault, Ferguson, Kearney, Thompson, Dickson (Mouncey 56) Subs not used : Mulgrew, McCann

Goals: Thompson, Ferguson 2 (1 pen)

So the Blues cruise into the last 8, in what was apparently a training ground type match against the team 4th in the first division. EBB misses the Blues too much so he's already given up his dream of Premiership football to follow Linfield and provide me with match reports. Here it is:

Everything about the game was lacklustre and half hearted... even Windy didn't seem to take that much abuse ffs Although, the South Stand did get riled a few times.

Bangor never threatened and didn't ever look like scoring, or actually having a shot

Ervin again, was poor Everything he hit, found a white shirt.

Curran looks much happier in the centre.

Gaulty once again though, was fucking awesome. MOM.

Bluenose was more succinct:

That was boring as fuck.

Match highlights available via Bangor's website here:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Crusaders 2 Linfield 3

Oran looks happy!

Kop Stand crowd

Crues fans in the North Stand, plus freebie kids in the lower deck

CIS League Cup Final, Windsor Park, Saturday 2nd February 2008

Team: Mannus, O’Kane, Murphy, Lindsay, Ervin (Dickson 80), Curran, McAreavey, Downey (Ferguson 66), Mulgrew (Kearney 60), Thompson, Stewart
Subs not used : Bailie, Douglas

Scorers: Thompson, Ferguson 2

Attendance: approx. 7000

So Linfield gain their first trophy of the season, and to be honest, we stole it, 2 goals in the last 5 minutes from Glenn Ferguson, finally getting the 500 goals monkey off his back, securing the trophy. Fair enough, you can say it epitomised Linfield's never-say-die spirit, but the consensus on Hatchets and Hammers is that we played poorly and didn't really deserve to win, despite controlling much of the game.

Because of the Six Nations rugby taking priority, I could only see some of the game. This is what I thought based on what I saw:

I only saw the last 10 minutes of the first half, and the last 20 of the match

1st half: I thought we controlled the game, played some nice football, and all that was lacking was a good final ball. On the other hand, the Crues broke through on the right, dunno who it was, but if he hadn't been so greedy and crossed instead of shooting, we'd have been 1 down. Maccers was showing the skills, Downey looked the part (save the final ball) and Thompo and Stewart were lively. Just the defence being shaky and playing too high. I quite liked the midfield balance.

2nd half last 20: we were frankly all over the place. I could honestly not work out our formation or who was playing where. We clearly do not practice 4-3-3 in training, nor or the players given clear guidelines on where they fit into that system, as we were a mess. Where was Tommy supposed to fit in? What was our tactics? I felt we got out of jail. We should have gone 2-1 down right beore that fat bastard Brown ( ) scored (did you see his belly when he whipped his top off? My mates in the bar were pissing themselves
I'm a) not sure about Winkie and Kris together at centre-half, and b) this high defensive line bollocks. It's too risky, and now we lack the pace to make up for any times it doesn't work.
However, we came back well, 2 blatant penalties in the space of 3 seconds weren't given, Oran came close, then Spike rescued us. Well done Fergie, I just hope DJ learns the right lesson and keeps him as an impact sub.

One more thing, the crowd was pretty pathetic, again friends were laughing at the fact it was a final and the stadium looked empty. Charging less, giving thousands of tickets to youngsters when the demand clearly isn't there, and putting cameras in the North Stand should be looked at.

DGIG saw it this way, my trusty reporter EBB is still AWOL despite being in attendance on Saturday :):


- Another trophy in the cabinet
- Perfect impact sub performance from Spike and the 500 monkey off his back
- Glimpses of what makes Oran Kearney such an important player


- Tactical insanity from DJ. No need at all to go 4-3-3 when he did.
- The high offside line costing us dear AGAIN.
- The right side AGAIN.
- The South Stand cherry-picking its victims. AGAIN.

No-one seems to be criticising the subs themselves, it's how they were played that rankles.

There was no need at all to go 4-3-3 when bringing Ferguson on. When we did that we lost the midfield, exposed our full backs, lost control of the game, and it led almost directly to Crusaders taking the lead.

Dickson for Ervin was a no-brainer. Ervin was having a stinker, we had to take risks, and Dickson offered the best attacking option on the bench for that side of the pitch. Why the South Stand felt the need to boo both their poster boys being taken off, despite both being rank, who knows?

and if Three Colours Blue doesn't mind, he wrote a superb match summary:

That's two weeks on the trot now we've got out of jail.

Happy to win another trophy and glad to see Spike get that monkey off his back.... HOWEVER....

That defence of ours Needs sorted and in a hurry.
They were all over the place ffs!
For me Winkie and Lindsay can't play together. Every team that play us now know to just keep hitting the long ball over them, it causes panic in our back division. It's either one or the other and we need a new centre back with a turn of pace to play beside winkie/Lindsay. What's this Billy Joe Burns like pace wise?.. If he's quick enough, get him in the team NOW.
For a period in the game wee Jim was everywhere BUT right back.
O'kane for me was the pick of our defenders. Solid enough but without causing any problems going forward.

Midfield... For the second week in a row we missed the combative skills and energy of Michael Gault.
I thought Maccers had a good enough game always probing, good passing in the main and covered a lot of ground today.
As for Downey, someone needs to have a word in his ear. These step overs and flicks are all fine and well but where's the end product?? and as for his clearance that lead to the Crues first goal.
Sort it out Downey most times the simple ball is the correct ball to play.
also arguing with your own players isn't a good idea.
Curran I thought also put in a decent shift, not spectacular but not bad either.
Mulgrew? wtf has happened to him?... He's playing like he's no interest ffs, head down and lifeless. He HAD to come off.
Mind you, exactly the same criticism can be labelled at Mark Dickson, could the real wee Jamie and Dicko please stand up!

Forward.... Huffed and puffed all day. Both Pete and Tommy put in good shifts whilst not really getting any quality ball whilst credit must go to the Crues defence who in the main marshaled them well.
Our lack of width draws both our strikers out to the flanks far too much for my liking.
Spike changed the game when he came on purely and simply by being in the right place at the right time.. Fair play to him though, it's a good job he was.

All in all.. Happy, get that Cup back in the Windsor trophy cabinet where it belongs....But with big reservations about our defence.