If today was to be Warren Feeney’s last game as Linfield manager, it was certainly a dramatic one to go out on, as rumours continue to link him with a move to Newport County.

Pointless anecdote time – I once went through Newport on a train, and then two days later I was sat beside Warren Feeney on a plane.

Back to today, Linfield arrived at Solitude looking to get their first win there since 2012, but more importantly, maintain their four point lea over Crusaders while moving eight points clear of 3rd placed Cliftonville.

Linfield began the game with one change from last week, with Stephen Lowry coming in for Kirk Millar. Bit of a surprise for me, I would have played Millar. He could have been not 100% fit though, but if he was, I would have played him.

Cliftonville’s early attacking play came through David McDaid, helped by Linfield’s defenders backing off him. His best moment came when he was able to get a clear shot at goal, but Glendenning saved it, and managed to push it away.

He didn’t see out the game though, being substituted in the first-half through injury.

Linfield then took the lead when they managed to get the ball out the left, and a low cross came to David Kee, who got there before his marker to put Linfield 1-0 up.

The closest Cliftonville came to an equaliser was when a Seydack free-kick went wide.

Linfield went 2-0 up soon after with a Mark Haughey header. Strange, I thought he only scored against Warrenpoint or Glenavon. Three goals in successive games for him. He’s almost turning into a goal machine.

Having just seen a video of the goal, Conor Devlin was blocked off by two of his own defenders. I’m sure they didn’t practice that in training.

Having seen Linfield struggle from defending set pieces in recent weeks, Cliftonville didn’t put any men in front of Glendinning.

Linfield were comfortable defending and didn’t look like conceding. It is noticeable how much Cliftonville’s goal threat from open play is reduced without Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley.

The next time Linfield had a corner, Conor Devlin wasn’t blocked by his own defenders and was able to rush off his line to palm the ball away from Mark Stafford, who was certain to head it home and make it 3-0.

Not only were Linfield comfortable when defending, they also showed fight and smartness, qualities that had been sadly lacking in too many recent trips to Solitude.

By smartness, I mean, winning soft free-kicks to kill attacks or start attacks, and killing the game to stop Cliftonville getting any sort of momentum going.

As the half ended, Linfield fans thought they were going to go in 3-0 up when Andrew Waterworth got in behind Cliftonville’s defence and fired wide. He had to hit a shot first time, but he will still be disappointed not to have hit the target.

2-0 to Linfield at half-time, but that was the score during a league meeting in February this year. Cliftonville pulled a goal back and then got an equaliser when Linfield got nervous. With this in mind, they needed a 3rd goal just to be sure.

They almost got it in the early moments of the second-half, but Andrew Waterworth fired his shot wide.

Before you could say Linfield need to keep Cliftonville out and not do anything stupid in the early minutes of the second-half, Martin Donnelly pulled a goal back to make it 2-1.

It was a poor goal to concede, in terms of it sneaking in the near post, and him being allowed to have a free strike in the final third.

Soon after, Cliftonville were lucky to have their full compliment of eleven on the pitch when George McMullan had his arm around Niall Quinn’s neck. Not even a yellow card. The first of many shocking decisions made in the second-half by referee Arnold Hunter.

Within minutes of their first goal, Cliftonville made it 2-2 after Caoimhin Bonner headed home after Johnny Flynn original header on goal to divert it in. Ross Glendinning was diving to save Flynn’s header and could do nothing about Bonner’s header.

It didn’t look like a rehearsed set piece, but they made their own luck by having a player in the right position to head it home. There were two headers for Linfield to win, and they didn’t win any of them.

It was now a different game, and Cliftonville were in the ascendancy.

Linfield weren’t helping themselves by giving possesion away cheaply. Ross Glendinning is always eager to start an attack when he has the ball in his hands, as demonstrated by the first goal last Saturday, but he was perhaps too eager, as his kickouts were giving the ball back to Cliftonville.

Cliftonville were getting a lot of joy down their left, and were targeting Linfield’s left hand side. They almost exposed this when Stephen Garrett was put through down that side, butthankfully fired over.

George McMullan soon got a yellow card for a foul on Sean Ward. If the referee had done his job earlier in the half, he would have already been sent-off, or was now getting his second yellow card/

It was Sean Ward who was soon to be getting sent-off after bringing down Chris Curran when he was running through on goal. No complaints about the decision, it was a rare case of Arnold Hunter getting one right.

Ward perhaps could have tried to nick the ball with his right foot, but it’s easy for me to say that when i’m watching the game from the other end of the pitch.

Thankfully, for Linfield, the resulting penalty was saved. The reprieve didn’t last for long though, as George McMullan put Cliftonville in front after Niall Quinn backed off him and gave him the opportunity to shoot.

The same George McMullan, who should have been sent-off earlier in the half.

Aaron Burns came on for Jamie Mulgrew as Linfield came into it more. The biggest compliment you could give them was that you didn’t notice they were playing with ten men.

It was Burns who found space in the box to head home from a Niall Quinn cross to make it 3-3.

Ivan Sproule was introduced to the action but didn’t get a chance to make an impact. It was a foul on him in injury time by Eamonn Seydack get a second yellow card. Eventually, one of them was going to get sent-off. Johnny Flynn was also lucky to stay on for a foul on Andrew Waterworth as he chased a through ball. I’d need to see a replay again though.

It looked as though Arnold Hunter was saving his red cards for the final whistle, as BBC were reporting that Caoimhin Bonner was sent-off in the tunnel after the game. There is still no official confirmation of this though.

Both teams will be relieved at getting a point when staring into the abyss, while also frustrated at throwing away two points from strong positions.

It was another away game without a goal from Andrew Waterworth or Guy Bates. Maybe it’s just coincidental, or do we need to adapt or game away from home. Though today it was third away game out of five that we have scored three goals, so perhaps it’s not that big an issue, yet.

Today was the third game in four that Linfield have conceded three goals in, which is a bit worrying. It was also the second successive week in which Linfield had lost a two goal lead, though a positive is that we have might a fightback after doing so.

We couldn’t get a favour today as Ballymena’s run of good form ended today with a defeat against Crusaders. I’ve been watching Linfield long enough to know we don’t get any favours, we have to help ourselves.

Next for me, is the Northern Ireland v Greece match, as Northern Ireland look to get the win that will send them to Euro 2016.

If they do, expect to see peace and love break out amongst Irish League fans as we celebrate the national team’s achivement.

This utopian dream will last for less than 48 hours, as Linfield face Glentoran next Saturday. This will be the landmark 11th game of the season, when everybody will have played each other once. If Linfield can get a win, that would be nine wins out of eleven, top of the league, scoring goals for fun and having played the other teams in the top four away from home.

That would be a very good start to the season, but just a start. We still have to go out there and win the game.

More importantly, hopefully, we will go into that game with a manager.

Photo Album


Mopping up from last week, I headed to North Street, Donegall Street and Joy’s Entry to get photos of some of the Street Art as part of Culture Night that was still being finished last week.

I also headed to City Quays Walk to have a look at some Street Art that was also painted as part of Culture Night.

There is plenty of room in City Quays Walk for more Street Art, so i’ll be keeping an eye on that over the coming months to see if there are any new additions.

Photo Album

City Quays Walk Street Art Photo Album

See Also

North Street (And Surrounding Areas) Art Part 1

North Street Art September 2015 Photo Album


There are very few certainties in football, but one of two things were certain to happen at Windsor Park.

One was that a Glenavon side struggling to recreate their form of the end of last season that saw them secure 3rd place, kicking off nine points behind Linfield would recreate it today and put a dent in Linfield’s title challenge.

The other, was that the game would be decided by someone playing against their former club.

The more pessimistic Linfield supporters feared it would be Johnny Tuffey or Kris Lindsay, while the more optimistic hoped it would be Guy Bates or Mark Haughey.

Glenavon had the recent form in meetings between the two sides, winning three of the four games last season, including both away games against Linfield.

Only one of those games was at Windsor Park, on a lovely sunny day in late September, just like today, with Glenavon hoping to repeat their 1-0 win 53 weeks previously.

Linfield made a good start to the game, but it was Glenavon who had the first shot on goal, when a Kevin Braniff shot was well saved by Ross Glendinning, before Rhys Marshall and Mark Haughey exchanged headers over the bar from set pieces, while Linfield’s first attacking moment of note came when Kirk Millar’s run and shot was well saved by Tuffey.

Also having a run and shot for Linfield was Guy Bates, who like Millar, saw it well saved by Tuffey.

It was Glenavon though, who scored first, when Kyle Neill scored directly from a corner.

It came at a period when Glenavon had a couple of set pieces which troubled Linfield, especially in the six yard box, which causes Ross Glendinning problems by being too crowded.

Despite going 1-0 down, there was no need for Linfield to panic. If they kept doing what they were doing in the final third, eventually, it would come right.

In the final stages of the first-half, the equaliser came, from a counter attack after Glendinning caught a corner, and rolled a pass to Kirk Millar, as if he was having a leisurely afternoon on the Bowling Green, whose short pass to Sean Ward allowed him to run at Glenavon’s defence to play in Andrew Waterworth to fire hom and make it 1-1.

When he was played in, there was no doubt that the ball was going to end up in the back of the net.

Soon after, Waterworth made a similar run and was played in, but his finish was disallowed for offside. He looked onside from where I was sat. David Kee was clearly offside, though not involved in play when the ball was played, which could have caused some confusion.

There would have been no cause to panic if Linfield had went in at half-time 1-0 down, but getting the equaliser meant they would be starting afresh in the second-half, and have a platform to build on.

And build on, Linfield did, with two quickfire goals from Millar and Waterworth.

Both goals came down the left. Niall Quinn broke down the left and played a pass across the six yard box. Kirk Millar couldn’t miss, and he didn’t.

Five minutes later, it was Matthew Clarke’s turn to set up a goal when Bates played him in and his cross was finished by Waterworth.

Just when it looked like Linfield were getting comfortable, Glenavon pulled one back when a Kevin Braniff shot was cleared off the line, but fell to Kris Lindsay, who couldn’t miss.

Lindsay was sent-off when Glenavon won at Windsor Park last season, and was hoping to have a more enjoyable afternoon this time around.

After that, Glenavon took control of the game. It was echoes of the 3-2 win against Ballymena at home in early October last season. 1-0 down, 3-1 up, then pegged back to 3-2 and nervously hanging on.

Despite the introduction of Ivan Sproule for an inured Niall Quinn, Linfield went defensive and were playing for a 3-2 win, further backed up by the introduction of Stephen Lowry for Guy Bates as Linfield went 4-5-1, when Lowry for Mulgrew seemed the most logical substitution.

This time last year, Clucas for Morrow was the default late substitution.

With ten minutes to go, Glenavon got a deserved equaliser when Eoin Bradley fired home in the penalty area.

Playing for a 3-2 win was always a dangerous tactic. All it needed was one bounce to fall to a Glenavon player, and so it proved when the ball fell to Bradley.

From that point, there was only going to be one winner, and unfortunately, that was Glenavon.

Soon after, Bradley had the chance to complete Glenavon’s comeback when a bad backpass played him through, but he scooped the ball over. He should have scored. He didn’t even need to shoot, he could have played in Gary Hamilton to fired into an open net.

The let-off seemed to give Linfield the push to have one last charge at Glenavon’s goal.

Ivan Sproule was able to break into the box, and his cross was put out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Mark Haughey headed home to make it 4-3.

It was Haughey’s 6th goal for Linfield, 4 have come against Warrenpoint and 2 have come against Glenavon.

Stephen Lowry thought he was going to make it 5-3, but his shot was well saved by Tuffey’s legs.

Linfield weren’t able to put the game to bed though. Jimmy Callacher came on for Kirk Millar for his first appearance of the season.

If Linfield had held on when 3-1 up, he could have been brought on much earlier in more relaxing circumstances.

What formation Linfield were playing was anyone’s guess. It was all about keeping the ball away from their goal. They weren’t helping themselves by giving the ball away cheaply. It is possible to defend a lead without putting loads of defenders on the pitch. A worrying tactic that could come back to haunt us in another game.

There was still one final chance for Glenavon when James Singleton burst through and saw his shot saved, and then he fired the rebound over.

Ivan Sproule tried to take the ball to safety, but was superbly dispossessed by a Rhys Marshall tackle, whose resulting run was thwarted by a Linfield player getting his body in the way.

Glenavon appealed for a penalty, it was never going to be given.

The final whistle blew from the resulting goal kick, as Linfield got the win, especially vital as Crusaders and Cliftonville both got wins in games they were expected to win.

Despite the win, Warren Feeney looked unhappy as he walked towards the dressing room.

It is Cliftonville who provide the opposition next week. Too many times in recent years, Linfield have faced Cliftonville with a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table, and only managed to let Cliftonville reduced the lead or overtake them.

The next two games against Cliftonville and Glentoran will see them reach the point where everybody will have played each other once.

If Linfield can come out of those games unscathed, it will be a great platform to build on, especially as the next three games (Warrenpoint, Carrick, Dungannon) are quite generous leading into the home game against Crusaders in early November.

In two weeks time, hopefully we’ll be able to say that Warren Feeney’s Linfield have made as much progress as the redevelopment work on the South Stand, which has had over 1,000 extra tickets for the Northern Ireland v Greece game made available.

Until then, a trip to Solitude, and what feels like an endless wait for a bus.

Hopefully, for once, it will be worth it.

Photo Album


As much a tradition as Culture Night, is the aftermath of it, most notably, checking out the final result of the Street Art that gets painted on the night.

I headed over to Garfield Street to have a look, as well as North Street, and the upper end of North Street, as well as Donegall Street where Irish News is based, and then round to where Sunflower Bar is.

There were still some final touches being made to some pieces around Donegall Street, and there were bottle bins blocking any good photos of the piece at the back of Black Box, so i’ll have to make a second visit to get the photos I wanted.

Until then, enjoy.

Photo Album

See Also

North Street Art 2014

North Street Art 2014 Photo album

North Street Art 2013

North Street Art 2013 Photo Album

North Street Art 2012


Linfield bounced back from their first defeat of the season, at Seaview last week, by getting back to winning ways today, and extended their lead at the top from two points to four points.

A week is as long a time in football as it is in politics.

Facing opposition they’d beaten in all seven meetings between the two sides, it wasn’t that much of a shock, though not many would have seen a 5-1 final score during the first-half.

Linfield began brightly, straight on the attack and not letting Warrenpoint any time to rest. A clearance went to Warren Feeney in his Technical Area which he caught and immediately threw to Matthew Clarke to take a quick throw and keep the attacks alive. This was in the first five minutes of the game.

Everytime Warrenpoint misplaced a pass, there was normally a Linfield player immediately in possession.

If Linfield had got a goal during this flurry, it would have been a long afternoon for Warrenpoint.

Warrenpoint managed to hold out, and even had some of the game. Enough to get Linfield worried rather than nervous. They were getting into Linfield’s final third but never looked like doing anything with it. There was never a moment when you felt Linfield were going to concede, but their defence still had to be on their game.

In that defence, was Mark Stafford, making his first start in the league. He did well, even though most of what he had to do was mopping up.

More Linfield attacks came, mostly through Kirk Millar, playing out left after swapping positions with Aaron Burns. Often Millar would be in space crying out for the ball to be played to him, and would find himself frustrated at not getting the ball.

When he did get the ball, he was often Linfield’s biggest attacking threat. His afternoon ended prematurely in the first-half when he was substituted after suffering an injury.

Depite most of their attacks coming down their left in the first-half, Linfield’s best moment in the early stages came when a cross from the right came to Aaron Burns, and his instinctive shot was well save.

Linfield took the lead from their first real moment of quality when Bates and Clarke combined down the left for Bates to cross for Andrew Waterworth to head home from close range.

A couple of Warrenpoint players slumped to the ground with their hands on their heads. This wasn’t in their gameplan.

Despite that blow, Warrenpoint finished the half strongly and were still very much in the game, as the half finished with only one goal separating the sides.

Linfield needed a second goal just to kill the game off and be sure of the three points. Before you could say “Linfield need a second goal”, Linfield got a second goal, when Andrew Waterworth fired under the keeper from the edge of the box.

The goal came about when Aaron Burns won the ball out right and played a simple pass to set up Waterworth.

In the first-half, Burns struggled out right but was a lot better in the second-half, mainly due to him being more involved in the game.

It seems a bit of a stupid thing to say, but Linfield’s wide play was focused on the North Stand, attaking down the left in the first-half, and on the right in the second-half.

Soon after the goal, he was setting up an opportunity for Guy Bates, whose header was tipped over, as well as making late runs from right that almost got rewarded with a goal.

Despite that, i’d be a lot happier if he was back out the left next Saturday.

Burns was lucky to finish the game, having been booked for a high challenged There was no intention to hurt the Warrenpoint player, Burns clearly went for the ball, but if it was the other way around, we’d be screaming for blood.

What is worrying is that the yellow cards are starting to stack up and he can’t be far off a suspension.

Mark Haughey got his customary goal against Warrenpoint, his fourth in five appearances against them, to definitely make sure of the game, giving Linfield a 3-0 lead.

Warrenpoint got a goal back from a long range shot from Mark Hughes, after he managed to get some space outside the box and wasn’t closed down to stop the shot.

Warrenpoint then sensed they might be able to get a second goal and make the final stages nervous for Linfield. Despite their possession in Linfield’s final third, that was never really going to happen.

It definitely wasn’t going to happen once Waterworth fired home from close range to get his hat-trick, his second of the season, and his second of 2015 against Warrenpoint.

Soon after, it was 5-1, when some neat passing, especially the final ball from David Kee which set up Waterworth to simply touch the ball past the keeper, and then roll it into the empty net for his fourth goal of the game.

According to the commentator on Radio Ulster, it was eleven in six appearances against Warrenpoint for him, and yet, it is Mark Haughey’s goalscoring record against Warrenpoint that gets all the media attention.

Trying to raid my memory, but I think that’s the first time I have witnessed a Linfield player score four in the flesh, having not been there when Peter Thompson (v Dungannon 2005) and Philip Lowry (v Institute and Donegal Celtic, 2011) did it.

Redevelopment of Windsor Park also made some significant progress this week, with the South Stand now almost full of seats, though the amount of scaffolding there suggests it’s not quite ready for public use yet.

One game that supporters could be watching from the South Stand could be in a proposed third European competition.

If I was being cynical, I would suggest making it for domestic cup winners only and call it the European Cup Winners Cup.

In all seriousness, this competition, for clubs who exit European Competition in July and August, actually sounds like a good idea, as it would be a benefit to Irish League clubs, and maintain European games into August/September and possibly beyond.

It wouldn’t kick in until the 2018-2019, and there are a lot of logistical details that need to be decided in terms of dates, sponsorship and TV rights, but i’m hoping this idea becomes a reality.

Forget about 2018-2019, it’s the 2016-2017 season I want Linfield to be playing in European, most specifically, the European Cup.

Next up in the league, Glenavon.

Photo Album


The one ray of sunshine in the post summer comedown arrived in Belfast, as Culture Night 2015 took over the city. It’s hard to imagine a time before Culture Night, but it was only as recently as 2008, the event now becoming a circled red date in Belfast’s diary.

I decided to break my habit of previous years by taking a half day so I could be there between 4pm and 5pm. It turned out to be a good move as I managed to see the Street Art being painted from the very beginning, not that I actually missed out on much by arriving at 7pm as I had done in previous year, it felt like a more wholesome experience arriving there earlier.

My evening was spent mostly in North Street, Gordon Street, Cathedral Quarter and Smithfield, just walking around. Culture Night, like life sometimes, is a lot better when you just go with your instinct.

Of course, it wouldn’t Culture Night without taking in some Street Countdown.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad night. The only downside of it being over is that it’s the last big event of the Summer months. Still, you’re never more than 365 days away from the next one.

Photo Album

See Also

Culture Night 2014

Culture Night 2014 Photo Album

Culture Night 2013

Culture Night 2013 Photo Album

Culture Night 2012

Culture Night 2012 Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.9.2015

1. The View – Under The Rug
2. Muse – Lies
3. Foals – Mountain At My Gates
4. The Libertines – Gunga Din
5. New Order – Plastic

After much confusion, Muse announced a gig at The Odyssey for April 6th. Thankfully, a bigger venue and much more notice than their Ulster Hall gig earlier this year.

Just to get you in the mood for this, here’s a Muse Top Five


1. Panic Stations
2. Neurton Star Collision
3. Knights Of Cydonia
4. Starlight
5. Muscle Museum

As a bonus, Ash announced a Christmas gig at The Empire. If that is more your thing, here’s an Ash Top Five


1. Envy
2. Oh Yeah
3. A Life Less Ordinary
4. Goldfinger
5. True Love 1980


It was back to earth with a bump for Linfield as their winning start to the season came to an end at Seaview with their first defeat of the season.

There were positives for Linfield. Well, there are if you scrape the barrel for long enough. Linfield are still top of the league, and results elsewhere meant that Crusaders were the only team to close the gap on Linfield.

There were echoes of last season in both result and performance, but also in scenario. On New Year’s Day, Linfield went to Seaview top of the league and lost, and then were overtaken in the next game. That swing gave Crusaders the momentum to go on and win the league.

That game in question, a draw against Coleraine, came two days after New Year’s Day. This time around, Linfield will have a full week to get this out of their system, with Warrenpoint Town arriving at Windsor Park.

(No point complaining about a packed Christmas schedule by the way, it was the same for everybody)

Without sounding arrogant, but it’s a game Linfield should win, which will hopefully see them getting back on the wagon ahead of a triple header against Glenavon, Cliftonville and Glentoran.

Linfield actually began the game not too bad, passing it around a lot, albeit, not getting anywhere. A lot of attacks were let down by the final ball, mostly due to players not being on the same wavelength as their team-mate rather than a poor pass.

The first real moment of quality saw Reece Glendinning have a chance to score when he headed over from close range after a cross.

Glendinning was involved at the other end when he diverted a Billy Joe Burns shot out for a corner.

Crusaders attacking play in the early stages was coming from crosses and set pieces. Linfield were coping with them easily.

Midway through the first-half, that changed. Suddenly, Linfield were struggling with Crusaders crosses and set pieces.

Everytime the ball went into the box, Linfield started to get nervous. Colin Coates headed over from close range after a corner was flicked across the box.

Kirk Millar had Linfield’s only other moment of note in the first-half, when he fired over a snapshot in the penalty area.

As the half neared it’s end, Crusaders went in front when Jordan Owens headed home from a cross.

After that, the bad habits returned. Hoofing it straight to Coates and second to every ball.

The second-half didn’t get much better, and Crusaders went 2-0 up in the early stages, when Paul Heatley was the first to react when a long free-kick was flicked on.

It looked like being a repeat of the two defeats last season, with Linfield waiting until they were 2-0 down to start playing.

We didn’t even get that.

The bad habits continued – hoofing it to Coates, not getting the second ball, not even putting in tackles. Crusaders players were being given too much time on the ball.

To round it all off, Crusaders made it 3-0 with another Jordan Owens header from a cross into the box.

As bad as Linfield were, they were undone by three hoofs into the box. Especially disappointing, considering how well Linfield had defended so far this season.

Today was the previous six games flipped around, shaky in defence and never looking like scoring.

Defences and clean sheets win titles, so does bouncing back from bad results. Warrenpoint Town next week offers a great apportunity to do that.

Curiously, it was Linfield’s fourth away game of the season, and Andrew Waterworth and Guy Bates are yet to score in any of them.

It is great that Linfield have had other players who have stepped up in those games, but it does suggest that Linfield maybe don’t have the attacking ideas to get goals for their strikers when playing away from home.

Both of them will be glad that the next two league games will be at Windsor Park.

Photo Album