THE FRIDAY FIVE – 31.7.2015

1. Chemical Brothers – Go
2. Sunset Sons – She Wants
3. Hidden Cities ft Tim Halperin – Hungry Like The Wolf
4. New Order – Restless
5. Andreya Trian – Gold

Tomorrow, is International Yorkshire Day. So, to celebrate, here’s a musical chart from Yorkshire’s musical output.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM YORKSHIRE

1. Pulp – A Little Soul
2. Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God
3. Kiki Dee – Star
4. Def Leppard – When Love And Hate Collide
5. Human League – Tell Me When

LINFIELD 1-3 SPARTAK TRNAVA 23.7.2015

Linfield hosted Spartak Trnava at Windsor Park aiming to overcome a 2-1 first leg defecit, and in doing so, reach the 3rd Round of the UEFA Cup, something they had narrowly failed to do in the previous two seasons.

Supporters arriving in the North Stand will have noted new seats, both in design and colour, as the North Stand is now synced to look like the Railway Stand and South Stand, as the redevelopment of Windsor Park gathers pace.

There was a slow start to the game, with not a lot happening in the early moments. As the half went on, Spartak Trnava were nervous in defence. So nervouse, that their defenders were Linfield’s best attacking outlet at times.

Aaron Burns intercepted a loose pass, running down the wing, but Trnava were able to clear the cross. It was a sign of encouragement for Linfield.

Frequently during the half, Trnava gave the ball away and lost soft tackles. They were giving Linfield a lot of the ball, but not a lot of clear scoring opportunities.

Guy Bates was causing problems for an already nervous Trnava defence, forcing them into mistakes and conceding cheap throws and possession.

There was a penalty shout when Bates went down in a tussle with a defender. I didn’t get a clear view of it. The referee said no.

Stephen Lowry had a shot at goal, created by Bates, which hit the post, a Trnava player, and landed straight in the goalkeeper’s arms.

Lowry had better luck later on when he fired home in the penalty area after a scramble. Linfield now had the lead on away goals.

Linfield were the better team in the first-half without dominating. All they had to do now was hold out for 45 minutes.

Trnava didn’t offer much in the first-half. Most of their attacks came down their right, which Linfield managed to deal with. Their best chance came when a header was well saved by Ross Glendinning.

Trnava were on the attack immediately in the second-half, it was a sign of intent, that this would be a different team Linfield would be facing.

Linfield needed to keep it 1-0 for as long as possible and frustrate Trnava. They weren’t able to, as a strike from outside the box made it 1-1 on 53 minutes.

It didn’t change a lot in the tie, if Linfield made it 2-1 the tie would have gone to extra-time, but it swung the momentum in Trnava’s favour.

Linfield were shellshocked, but managed to recover to have some attacks, one of which brought a goal. Unfortunately, it came for Trnava.

A defensive header denied a certain Linfield goal, Trnava counter-attacked and scored within seconds.

It’s easy to say that Stephen Lowry should have fouled his opponent with hindsight. If he did, people would have complained about him picking up a soft foul on the by-line of the halfway-line.

In truth, it wasn’t Lowry not fouling that was the cause of Trnava’s second goal, it was the pace and power of the run. When he was one on one with only Glendinning to beat.

From being hopeless in defence to ruthless in attack in the space of 15 minutes. Trnava dealt Linfield a harsh lesson.

Trnava hit the post a couple of times soon afterwards and showed their class in attack. The tie was over, Linfield were now crying to hang in there and avoid a thrashing.

Linfield had a chance to equalise when a Trnava offside trap from a free-kick failed, allowing Chris Hegarty to be through on goal. He didn’t realise it, and his cross was behind the two strikers running in.

Soon after, there was a Trnava red card for a second yellow. Nobody in Windsor Park believed that Linfield could use the one man advantage to get the 3 goals that would send them through.

Trnava made sure of the tie with 10 minutes remaining, when they passed Linfeld to death, breaking through Linfield’s defence, before an attacking player rolled the ball into an empty net.

For all their good attacking play, Trnava were suspect in defence. Their goalkeeper flapped a high ball to present Aaron Burns with a half-chance, but they managed to get bodies in the way.

Ross Clarke got in behind their defence but fired over when clean through.

After that, the game fizzled out and reached it’s inevitible conclusion.

Linfield didn’t push Trnava as far as they pushed Xanthi and AIK, but it’s still frustrating having been 45 minutes away from glory.

Trnava gave Linfield a lesson on why you need to be ruthless in front of goal.

Now Linfield’s attention turns to domestic matters, and the visit of Ballymena United to Windsor Park on 8th August.

The day before the match, I received some good news in the form of an e-mail informing my that my application for Euro 2016 tickets was partially successful, getting a ticket for a Group E match in Stade De France on 13th June from the 3 matches I applied for.

To say i’m delighted is an understatement.

This weekend sees the draw for the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Of the top seeds, i’m hoping for an away match against England on a Sunday night in March 2017. A weekend in London, see a League One or League Two match before going to Wembley.

If not England, then Wales. Same again, away match on a Sunday night in March 2017. Assuming it’s in Cardiff, go to see Newport County, Bristol Rovers or Bristol City (if they get relegated) on the Saturday.

So Linfield’s European bid ends with yet another heroic defeat. Here’s hoping that next season’s heroic exit is in the European Cup rather than the UEFA Cup.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 17.7.2015

1. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark
2. Marina and the Diamonds – Blue
3. Olivia Vessel – Don’t You Forget About Me
4. Everything Everything – Regret
5. What’s Eating Gilbert – Follow Her Around

This week, saw Bastille Day. So, as a treat for French readers, here’s a chart from your country.

FIVE SONGS BY FRENCH ARTISTS

1. Justice – D.A.N.C.E
2. Phoenix – Entertainment
3. Desireless – Voyage Voyage
4. Daft Punk – Robot Rock
5. Air – Sexy Boy

LINFIELD 2-0 NSI RUNAVIK 2.7.2015

Warren Feeney’s second season as Linfield manager began the same way as his first one, with a UEFA Cup tie against opposition from the Faroe Islands.

In fact, David Jeffrey’s last two seasons as Linfield manager also began with European ties against Faroese opposition.

The previous three seasons had seen Linfield progress to the next round, and began as favourites to do so again against Runavik.

The game also was a welcome return to Windsor Park for Linfield after a four month absence due to the problems in the redevelopment of Windsor Park.

Linfield began the game rustily, with Runavik’s number 11 Arni Frederiksberg getting a lot of joy and space to set up chances and get crosses in. Sean Ward was isolated and struggling.

Eventually, Linfield got more into the game, with the trio of Waterworth, Bates and Sproule bubbling under, threatening to get in behind Runavik’s defence.

Despite this, Linfield were having some shaky moments defensively, having to get bodies in the way to get some blocks in.

Finally, Linfield got a grip on the game, putting Runavik under pressure and making gains in their attacking third. The best moment came when Andrew Waterworth got in behind the defence but dragged his shot wide.

Runavik were now worried that Linfield had a key to unlock their defence. They quite literally did, well a Kee, who had a tidy game and had some impressive corners.

Sean Ward had a shot at goal well saved. His wait for a first Linfield goal goes on.

As the half neared it end, a well worked moved saw Andrew Waterworth head home. Porblem was, Ivan Sproule was offside in the build-up.

The half-time whistle blew with the score at 0-0. You had the feeling, that if Linfield could get an early goal in the second-half, they could comfortable see the game out.

A succession of corners saw an almighty scramble but no goal. Eventually, the goal did come, when Andrew Waterworth fired home from close range.

At 1-0, Linfield were comfortable, but just needed a 2nd goal to give them breathing space.

Guy Bates, on his debut, glided past two defenders and fired home. It was a lovely goal.

It wasn’t quite game over, as Ross Glendinning made a brilliant save from a deflected free-kick to deny Runavik an away goal.

As the clock ticked down, it was Linfield were looked most likely to score, with Kee having a shot blocked, and Aaron Burns firing over after a well worked move.

Bates was substituted as injury time approached, getting a standing ovation from Linfield fans. David Kee also played well. Daniel Wallace was an unused sub, while Mark Stafford was injured.

A 3rd goal at the end would have been brilliant, but there’s not a lot to complain about – a healthy lead and a clean sheet. Famous last words, but Linfield should have enough about them next week to complete the job and set up a tie against Spartak Trnava or FK Olimpic, who drew 1-1.

Hopefully, Linfield can see this tie through and return to Windsor Park with the tie alive. It could be a special night at Windsor Park on July 23rd, as Linfield aim to get past the 2nd Round hurdle they have fallen at in the last two seasons, before an away friendly at Knockbreda on July 25th, a ground to visit for the first time, just like the Belfast Loughshore Arena (Don’t laugh) on August 12th.

Meanwhile, this week, Cardiff was announced as host city of the 2017 European Cup Final.

I was in Cardiff for last season’s European Cup Final and it was a fantastic trip. I fully intend on being in Cardiff that weekend.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The next European match I want to watch is Linfield taking on Spartak Trnava or FK Olimpic on July 23rd with the tie very much up for grabs.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 3.7.2015

1. James Bay – When We Were On Fire
2. The Staves – Teeth White
3. Olly Murs – Beautiful To Me
4. Friendly Fires – Jump In The Pool
5. Duran Duran – Pressure Off

And now, the first of two national celebrations. Wednesday was Canada. So, for my Canadian readers, here’s a chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY CANADIAN ACTS

1. Tegan and Sara – Closer
2. Nelly Furtado – Do It Again
3. Barenaked Ladies – One Week
4. Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
5. Appleton – Fantasy

And for their Southern neighbours, it’s Independence Day tomorrow. So, here’s a chart for you.

FIVE SONGS BY AMERICAN ARTISTS

1. REM – The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
2. Buffalo Tom – Going Underground
3. Madonna – Rain
4. Paramore – That’s What You Get
5. The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl

And to finish, i’m going to see James in Edinburgh in August. Fifth time in a fifth different town (after Sheffield, Glasgow, Belfast and Bray) and i’m very excited about it.

It’s part of a Festival called Magners Summer Nights, a series of outdoor concerts in Glasgow and Edinburgh in August. If you’re going to it, here’s some songs to get you in the mood.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS PERFORMING AT MAGNERS SUMMER NIGHTSS

1. James – She’s A Star
2. Echo and the Bunnymen – Nothing Lasts Forever
3. The Waterboys – The Whole Of The Moon
4. The Flaming Lips – Fight Test
5. Ben Folds – Battle Of Who Could Care Less

2015 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Well, we’re now at the halfway stage of 2015 and as is tradition at this time of year, it’s time for a Top 50 Songs Of The Year So Far, and it will keep you in suspense for the next six months as to what the best song of 2015 will be. Enjoy.

1. The Strypes – Get Into It
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Ballad Of The Mighty I
3. Mumford and Sons – The Wolf
4. Muse – Mercy
5. Little Mix – Black Magic
6. Taylor Swift – Style
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – You Know We Can’t Go Back
8. Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
9. Florence and the Machine – Ship To Wreck
10. FFS – Johnny Delusonal
11. Frank Turner – The Next Storm
12. Kodaline – Honest
13. Blur – Ong Ong
14. Giorgio Moroder ft Britney Spears – Tom’s Diner
15. Mini Mansions – Death Is A Girl
16. James Bay – Hold Back The River
17. Kodaline – Ready
18. Years and Years – King
19. The Courteeners – Has The Told You That He Loves You Yet?
20. Charli XCX – Famous
21. Cathal Smyth – Do You Believe In Love?
22. Rae Morris – Under The Shadows
23. Soak – Sea Creatures
24. Imagine Dragons – Warriors
25. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
26. Charli XCX ft Rita Ora – Doing It
27. FFS – Piss Off
28. Brandon Flowers – Can’t Deny My Love
29. Blur – There Are Too Many Of Us
30. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance
31. Stereophonics – Cest La Vie
32. Jason Derulo – Want To Want Me
33. Paul Weller – Going My Way
34. Mans Zelmerlow – Heroes
35. The Charlatans – Come Home Baby
36. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Riverman
37. James Taylor – Montana
38. Natalie Imbruglia – Instant Crush
39. Father John Misty – Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)
40. Muse – Psycho
41. Little Boots – Better In The Morning
42. Gravity Storm – (Don’t You) Forget About Me
43. Nick Jonas – Jealous
44. Years and Years – Shine
45. Prides – Higher Love
46. Brandon Flowers – I Can Change
47. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – Silent Movies
48. The Strypes – Scumbag City
49. Blur – Lonesome Street
50. Florence and the Machine – What Kind Of Man

BRAY WANDERERS 1-0 SLIGO ROVERS 27.6.2015

Well, that was a short pre-season. Two weeks after the end of the 2014-2015 season, I was at my first game of the 2015-2016 season.

I was in Dublin for the day, and as Bray were at home, it would have been rude not to head to the Carlisle Grounds, on the DART line right beside a station.

Curiously, the 2014-2015 season also began for me at Carlisle Grounds. Like when I visited last season, Bray were struggling at the bottom end of the table and were desperate for points.

Like Bray, I had also seen Sligo Rovers play before, in their case against Bohemians in 2009. Like Bray, the only time i’d seen Sligo play ended in defeat. One, or possibly both, losing runs were going to end.

Given both teams proximity to each other at the bottom of the table, they were both desperate to get the points on offer.

Sligo’s pre-match preparation was dominated by the future of manager Owen Heary, or lack of a future. For a brief period during the first-half, visiting Sligo fans sang songs in support of him, with Sligo issuing a statement that he has stepped down.

Bray had made a bright start to the game, having some pressure on Sligo’s goal, but it was Sligo who had the first chance of the game when a cross flashed across the box by Cretaro, but Armstrong was unable to finish.

Within minutes, Bray struck when a scramble resulted in Sullivan firing home from close range after a team-mate failed to do so when he should have scored.

Sligo responded by having possession and attempts on goal. They were just that. They stung the goalkeeper’s hands but they were saves the goalkeeper should be making.

After all those shot, ironically, Sligo almost equalised when a tackle went goalwards. They also had a shot cleared off the line from close range that should have been scored.

Bray were glad to hear the half-time whistle, to allow them a chance to regroup.

The second-half was poor to watch, it was a typical bottom of the table clash with both teams desperate for points. Both teams were feeling the pressure. Neither of them looked like scoring in the second-half. There was no belief that they would.

With each passing moment, Bray fans were starting to fear that they would concede a vital equaliser. As the minutes ticked down, Bray were able to smother the game and hold on to possession.

There were still nerves. A speculative shot from Bray went over with 30 seconds remaining, prompting groans from the crowd and an angry response from manager Trevor Croly.

Bray were able to see the game out and get the three points which saw them leapfrog Sligo into 10th, and 1 point behind Derry City, who are now being dragged into a relegation battle.

Bray play Limerick (12th) and Derry (9th) in their next two games and are hitting a run of form just in time for these.

Now that 2015-2016 is up and running, next up is Linfield v NSI Runavik in the UEFA Cup on Thursday night. Linfield’s friendly schedule offers a trip to Knockbreda at the end of the month, a new ground for me to visit.

Another ground that i’ll be visiting for the first time to see Linfield play will be Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, or Taylor’s Avenue, in old currency.

I’ve just booked a trip to Edinburgh for the Festival, but of course, i’ll be planning to take in a game. The game on while i’m there is Hearts v Partick. There’s also midweek games on in the League Cup, so hopefully, Hibs will be at home, or even a team easily commutable (Fife/Falkirk) that week.

With regards to Manchester United, i’m looking at Sunderland in September and Bournemouth in May, and possible some more.

So that’s me off and running for 2015-2016, a season I hope will end in France in June.

Photo Album

Bray v Drogheda 2014

DUBLIN STREET ART JUNE 2015

I took a trip down to Dublin at the weekend. I usually go to Dublin once a year, usually for an event and I end up staying over for a few days.

No events for me this year, so I decided to head down for a day some Saturday. While I was down there, I decided I would get some Street Art pictures while I was there.

I cheated a bit, by making a list of possible places to visit from a handy resource called Wallop Dublin, a website dedicated to Street Art in Dublin.

I also had previous knowledge of the city and revisited places I had previously been to to see if there was any updated work.

One such place I had hoped to photograph was Tivoli Car Park in Francis Street, but unfortunately it was closed whenever I visited. I’ll make a note to revisit there the next time in Dublin.

A major source of inspiration for Street Art is the recent Same Sex Marriage Referendum, and I spotted some stuff relating to this.

I was in the City Centre throughout my time there. Despite having a list of places to visit, I still found myself walking around and getting lost and exploring it that way.

Meanwhile, back in Belfast, there’s a new mural at the side of The Rotterdam Bar to commemorate the Tall Ships.

I haven’t have a chance to snap it yet, but if you want to see what it looks like, you can find it on Extramural Activity.

Photo Album

Dublin Street Art 2014

Dublin Street Art 2013