LINFIELD 4-0 ARDS 24.9.2016

Top of the league in August, Ards arrived at Windsor Park on a run of three defeats in four matches. Just over ten minutes into the game, they were on their way to four defeats in five games as Linfield turned on the style.

Linfield were straight on the attack, Paul Smyth forcing Ards goalkeeper into a save from a header. Once again, Smyth was involved in most of Linfield’s attacks. He wasn’t the only one, forming an attacking trio with Ross Gaynor and Kirk Millar. When Linfield were attacking, at least one of them was involved.

A goal for Linfield wasn’t long in coming, and it came on 7 minutes when a Paul Smyth cross wasn’t properly cleared, it fell to Stephen Lowry who played a simple pass to the unmarked Aaron Burns, who fired home.

As soon as Burns got the ball, there was only going to be one outcome.

Within a minute, Burns thought he had made it 2-0 when he fired home from close range from a Paul Smyth cross, but the goal was disallowed for offside..

A quick free-kick set Paul Smyth free out wide, and his cross found Stephen Lowry, who fired home.

The last time Ards visited Windsor Park, Linfield blew a two goal lead to draw 3-3 in a game that let Cliftonville back into the title race in 2014. There was no danger of that happening today. There weren’t even fifteen minutes on the clock, and the game was won for Linfield. The only question, was how many?

After that, Linfield eased off for a while. All Ards could offer was a speculative long-ranger shot. After easing off, Linfield stepped up a goal, with Stafford and Burns having attempts on goal.

It was only a matter of time before Linfield made it 3-0, and it came when Paul Smyth and Chris Casement toyed with Ards before setting up Kirk Millar to finish.

The waves of Linfield attacks continued, with Aaron Burns hitting the side netting from a wide angle after being played through, while Mark Stafford hit the woodwork from a corner.

Natuarally, the second-half wouldn’t be as intense as the first-half, but Linfield still had chances, Paul Smyth having a weak shot saved in the opening minutes of the second-half.

Just after the hour, Linfield made it 4-0 when Ross Gaynor’s cross was put into his own net by Emmett Frairs. If he didn’t try to cut out the cross, Aaron Burns would have had an easy finish from a few yards out.

A start today was Burns reward for goals off the bench in his last two games, with Andrew Waterworth being dropped.

4-0 up, it was the perfect time to bring on Waterworth and Kris Bright. Waterworth forced Ards keeper into a save, but when the game is long won, the attacking intensity isn’t the same.

Today marked the opening of the new bar at Windsor Park, in the corner of the South Stand and The Kop. My own impression was that it was underwhelming.

The thing that stood out, was no TV. When the old viewing lounge was there, I would pop in to check half-time scores in England and Scotland. I was hoping to go in today and watch the United match today. I doubt I was the only one thinking this.

It’s quite a basic thing and not having it is going to turn people away from the bar long-term if they can’t watch football on TV before the game, or have Soccer Saturday on while watching the match.

By the way, there is an excellent view of the game from the bar. Bit of a pity that you can’t watch the game from the balcony though.

Next up for Linfield, is a domestic double header against (barring any recruitment activity in BT4) two former managers, with the Scottish Challenge Cup tie against Queen of the South.

I’m always nervous going into games against Glentoran, but even more so given their form and league position. I’ve been more confident going into games against them when they’ve been top of the league.

A repeat of today’s performance, and we’ll be fine.

Some curious stats around today’s game, it was the third time in the last four home games that Linfield have scored four, and it was Linfield’s fourth clean sheet in eight games.

Long may this continue at both ends of the pitch.

Upon return from Dumfries, is a League Cup tie away to Ballymena, a competition we’re rarely still in come November. Would be nice to win it for the first time in, whisper it, eight years.

The League match against in-form Ballymena has been postponed due to the Challenge Cup, as has Crusaders match against out of sorts Glenavon. It’s fair to say those postponements have worked in Linfield’s favour.

The situation regarding postponements is one to keep an eye on. We’re only one game behind and there’s a date confirmed for it, Tuesday 18th October at Solitude. So it’s not that bad.

It’s been a good weekend for the club, with the Women’s team winning the Irish Cup and the Swifts getting through to the Quarter-Final of the Steel and Sons Cup.

The way the calendar falls this year, the final will be on Christmas Eve, which is a lot more convenient to attend. Hopefully, they can get to the final this year.

You may or may not have seen it this week, but Linfield got an apology this week from the Belfast Telegraph for a story printed in July about Linfield fans causing trouble in Dublin.

Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be bullshit.

I remember seeing it on the news stand when it was published and instantly dismissed it.

That was on the front page. I’m led to believe this apology was on page six.

If you want to read it, you can find it here.

If you don’t want to give them a hit, don’t worry, here’s a screenshot of it.

As you can see, it’s a C minus of an apology, just about scraping the basic requirements, apologising for “any inconvenience suffered”.

Obviously, “We were wrong”, “We lied” or “It wasn’t true” was too much of an inconvenience for them to publish.

The decline in standards at Belfast Telegraph in recent years can be addressed elsewhere. Possibly in a viral video. That’s the only type of story they do these days. A few weeks ago, they did a story about a video of a baby farting “going viral”.

Elsewhere, the corporate launch of Euro 2020 was this week. I know, Euro 2016 has already been consigned to history.

This tournament will have no host country but will take place all around Europe. An utterly farcical idea.

However, i’m a total hypocrite, and i’ll be keeping an eye on the schedule, to try and see what games in Dublin or Glasgow I can try and get to.

And finally, i’ve launched a series this week looking at the Windsor Park redevelopment from start to finish. You can find a link to it here.

The next time Linfield play a match at Windsor Park, against Ballinamallard on October 15th, the redevelopment will be complete.

Hopefully, there’ll be TVs in the bar by then.

Photo Album

THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : SUMMER – WINTER 2014

It was all change at Windsor Park during the summer of 2014 in more ways than one, as Linfield had a new manager for the first time since 1997, with Warren Feeney replacing David Jeffrey.

Feeney would have to wait until the middle of September to lead out Linfield at Windsor Park, as the redevelopment meant they had to play their UEFA Cup ties at Mourneview Park, and their first six league games away from home.

Warren Feeney wasn’t the only person with a new job at Windsor Park, as a Stadium Manager position was advertised in July 2014.

When Warrenpoint Town visited Windsor Park on 13th September 2014, it was Linfield’s first game of the 2014-2015 season at Windsor Park.

Linfield fans were relocated to the North Stand, and had seen the turnstiles at the Railway Stand removed, entering the ground via Donegall Avenue, purchasing a ticket from a temporary office and handing it (or your season ticket strip with the relevant number on it) to a steward.

Over September and October, they would have got to witness the final days of the South Stand, as it was finally demolished, as well as the foundations being laid for the new Railway Stand.

September 2014 – South Stand. Now not in use.

September 2014 – View as you approach Windsor Park

October 2014 – Progress on the Railway Stand.

October 2014 – Railway Stand, as seen from North Stand.

October 2014 – South Stand, now partially demolished.

October 2014 – What remains of the South Stand.

October 2014 – Roy Carroll heads to the dressing rooms, now situated between North Stand and The Kop, having previously been under the South Stand.

October 2014 – Linfield v Institute delayed due to a Floodlight Failure.

October 2014 – Foundations now being set for the Railway Stand.

2014 – South Stand, on it’s last legs.

October 2014 – Final foundations being laid for Railway Stand.

October 2014 – Significant progress made on the Railway Stand.

October 2014 – South Stand, now totally gone.

November 2014 – Railway Stand now coming together.

November 2014 – Concrete now added to the Railway Stand.

November 2014 – Glentoran’s first visit to Windsor Park during the renovation sees their fans in The Kop instead of the North Stand.

November 2014 – More progress being made on the Railway Stand.

December 2014 – Railway Stand rows now filled with concrete.

December 2014 – Railway Stand now towers over Linfield’s temporary club shop.

THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : END OF AN ERA

2014 began, and Windsor Park as we knew it was approaching the final whistle.

In the middle of January, O’Hare and McGovern won the contract to redevelop Windsor Park.

If, like me, you’ve watched too many documentaries about Brian Clough, they’re a construction firm from Newry, not the two guys who followed Brian Clough from Derby County to Nottingham Forest.

In March 2014, the redevelopment of Midgley Park was approved.

By April 2014, the redevelopment of Windsor Park was approved and ready to go. All we needed now was for the football season to end.

Linfield’s last home game of the 2013-2014 was against Glentoran on 22nd April 2014. Former players were invited as guests of the club.

The stand didn’t get the send off it deserved, as a 2-0 defeat for Linfield saw Cliftonville secure the title.

Some would say that giving the natives something to moan about was the most appropriate farewell.

Linfield fans would be doing their moaning from the North Stand for the foreseeable future. South Stand isn’t just a stand, it’s a way of life.

One last game for the stand, as Ballymena lost 2-1 to Glenavon in the Irish Cup Final. Ballymena fans were in the South Stand.

Once the footballers left the stadium, the electricians and builders were the new stars of Windsor Park.

The next time a football match would be played at Windsor Park, there would already be considerable changes to the stadium.

April 2014 – South Stand, as seen from the Viewing Lounge.

April 2014 – South Stand forecourt.

April 2014 – Seats in the South Stand.

April 2014 – Seats in the South Stand.

April 2014 – Row of seats in the South Stand.

April 2014 – Seats in the soon to be demolished South Stand.

April 2014 – Farewell South Stand.

May 2014 – South Stand, as seen from the North Stand at the 2014 Irish Cup Final.

May 2014 – South Stand and Viewing Lounge witness one last game.

THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : PRE REDEVELOPMENT (2012-2014)

It’s now 2012, and there’s a new Northern Ireland manager in the shape of Michael O’Neill.

Unfortunately, the only movement off the pitch at Windsor Park was a temporary Railway Stand going up, then down, then up, then down.

Off the pitch, though, an agreement was reached to release funds for the redevelopment.

Linfield confirmed this in a letter to fans.

In March 2013, Windsor Park had it’s first ever weather related postponed international, when Northern Ireland’s match against Russia was postponed after a freak snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm in March.

Eventually, in late 2013, it was confirmed that a redevelopment plan was approved, and that work would begin in the summer of 2014.

Linfield commemorated this at their last home game of the 2013-2014 season, against Glentoran on 22nd April 2014 by inviting former players to the game.

The last game that spectators would be in the stand was the 2014 Irish Cup Final between Glenavon and Ballymena United on 3rd May 2014, with Ballymena United fans being in that stand (as well as The Kop)

February 2012 – The Kop

February 2012 – The Kop, Lower Deck

March 2012 – North Stand turnstile at Donegall Avenue

In April 2012, Windsor Park got a LOO. Not a toilet, this LOO is Civil Service speak for Letter Of Offer, as the IFA received a Letter Of Offer for work to begin in 2013 with the redevelopment to be completed in the summer of 2015.

Within days, a Programme Director was appointed.

April 2012 – View from the South Stand.

April 2012 – Temporary seating in the Railway Stand now gone again.

May 2012 – Temporary seating removed from the South Stand.

May 2012 – Cameraman based in the South Stand.

May 2012 – The Kop

May 2012 – North Stand, as seen at Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

May 2012 – South Stand, on the night of Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

May 2012 – Temporary stand returns on the site of the Railway Stand for Harry Gregg’s Testimonial.

The summer of 2012 saw Planning Consultants be appointed.

…… and some architects.

July 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand gone again

July 2012 – B36 fans in the South Stand.

The tenders for the redevelopment came in. However, they were over budget.

August 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand returns.

August 2012 – View from the South Stand.

In late Summer 2012, a Community Consultation was launched.

……… and Supporters Clubs were given a chance to view the plans.

November 2012 – Floodlights at junction of Viewing Lounge and Railway Stand

November 2012 – Entering temporary Railway Stand.

November 2012 – Aisle at temporary Railway Stand.

November 2012 – Vehicle Entrance at South Stand turnsiltes.

As Christmas 2012 approaches, the IFA submits a planning application for work to begin in September 2013.

……. and there were even rumours it could be hosting the European Super Cup Final when completed.

December 2012 – Temporary Railway Stand once again gone.

January 2013 – View from the South Stand.

March 2013 – Junction of Railway Stand and North Stand

April 2013 – View from the South Stand

April 2013 – Entering the South Stand.

April 2013 – Best view in the ground, such was the quality of football on offer.

The temporary Railway Stand was used for a domestic game in May 2013, the Irish Cup Final between Glentoran and Cliftonville.

Meanwhile, Crusaders lived up to their name by going on a crusade, claiming that EU rules were broken.

July 2013 – Temporary seating at Railway Stand once again removed.

July 2013 – South Stand

July 2013 – Linfield supporters walk from the South Stand to The Kop.

July 2013 – A packed South Stand for a European tie.

July 2013 – View from the South Stand.

Remember that court case Crusaders were threatening? That soon disappeared.

August 2013 – View from the Railway Stand.

August 2013 – Cameraman based at forecourt, filming over Railway Stand.

A blog worth reading from August 2013, as one football ground enthusiast mourns the impending demise of another Archibald Leitch stadium.

Reassuringly, Caral Ni Chuilin, Sport Minister, declared she was committed to the redevelopment.

September 2013 – Temporary seating in Railway Stand gone again, never to be seen again.

An early Christmas present came in late in 2013, as the project was given the green (and white army) light.

January 2014 – A bit wet today.

LIVERPOOL STREET ART SEPTEMBER 2016

You may remember in early Summer 2015, I wrote a blog about Street Art in Liverpool having had a brief stop-off in the city when travelling to the Northern Ireland v Qatar match in Crewe. I signed off by saying that due to my ratio of visits to Merseyside being every 4 to 5 years (2006, 2010, 2015) that I didn’t expect myself to be in Liverpool again until 2019 or 2010. Well, it turns out I was wrong.

Invited to a friend’s wedding last weekend, I decided to make a trip of it. I was always going to head over on the Friday anyway, to avoid flying in on the day of the wedding, I took a gamble on United being at home on the Sunday (they ended up being away) so stayed for an extra day afterwards meaning I had Friday and Sunday to explore Liverpool, and by explore Liverpool, I mean get some Street Art photos.

In case you care, I actually did do some sightseeing, but actually forgot about The Jam exhibition that was on that I wanted to go to.

On my last visit, I did an official(ish) tour, so had an idea of where to go.

On the Friday, I headed to Bold Street and wandered around streets near it, stumbling into pieces.

Before heading off this time, I did a bit of research online and discovered an area known as Baltic Triangle, which was home to a lot of pieces.

Signposted from Albert Dock, and not too far from the City Centre, I set off, spotted pieces, spotted some more and got snapping.

I even managed to get lucky in the shape of finding a Skate Park in Baltic Triangle that was filled with Street Art and empty with people at the time.

Friday was spent exploring Liverpool City Centre, and I even managed to stumble on some pieces round the back of Lime Street Station, close to the O2 Academy.

Saturday was the day of the wedding. I left my camera in the hotel room as I wanted to travel light. I thought i’d be off duty in terms of Street Art spotting, but that turned out not to be the case.

As I walked to the church, I spotted a wall mural at the side of someone’s house of The Beatles.

As you can imagine, The Beatles are a big deal in Liverpool. A lot of pubs in the City Centre have plaques to commemorate any tenuous Beatles link.

There’s probably a pub in Liverpool with a plaque to say that John Lennon took a dump in the toilets in 1961.

I was curious as to this and did a bit of researching online, as there was a link on the mural, that it was part of something known as Liverpool Mural Project.

It had a web address but that seems to be inactive when you click on it.

Further searches online revealed it to commemorate Liverpool being made European Capital Of Culture in 2008. There’s even a Belfast link to the mural, as it was painted by Mark Ervine and Danny Devenny.

It’s not the only time Mark Ervine has painted a music icon from Merseyside, having painted a mural of John Peel in the Cathedral Quarter area of Belfast in 2011.

Naturally, I headed back on the Sunday, armed with my camera, to get some photos of the mural.

Cut out of my photos were pre-fame Beatles Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best.

If you’re interested and want to see it, get the Merseyrail to Seaforth and Litherland Station, turn right as you leave the station, and you’re only a few minutes away. You won’t be able to miss it.

Unlike last time, I won’t be giving an estimated return date to Liverpool. We’ll just see how things turn out.

Photo Album

See Also

Liverpool Street Art June 2015

Liverpool Street Art June 2015 Photo Album

THERE WE WERE, NOW HERE WE ARE : PRE REDEVELOPMENT (2000-2011)

A home match against San Marino isn’t usually something that gets football fans excited, but for Northern Ireland fans, the match on 8th October will see the renovation of Windsor Park finally completed, with four permanent stands at the ground for the first time in six years.

You’d think rebuilding a football stadium would be easy. However, this is Northern Ireland and we don’t do things easily.

Finally, Windsor Park is almost redeveloped and ready for action, and new memories will be made.

After endless discussions, delays and frivolous legal claims to the EU, it was finally confirmed in late 2013 that redevelopment of the stadium would begin in 2014.

Over the next few weeks building up to the San Marino game, we’ll be looking back at the journey that saw Windsor Park get redeveloped. To get an understanding of how we got there, we have to go back to the start, and remember what Windsor Park looked like before the renovations.

But how did we get here?

Our journey begins in 2000, just three years after an all seater Kop was built, when Ernie Walker of UEFA warned that Windsor Park (and other stadiums in Northern Ireland) might not be able to meet the standard to host matches.

By 2003, there were concerns about doping facilities for players.

By the end of the year, England and Wales were drawn to visit Belfast in the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, and the then Sports Minister, Michael McGimpsey wanted to ensure the games took place in Belfast.

In 2004, the Strategic Investment Board were investigating the feasibility of a multi-sport stadium for Northern Ireland, based on Bolton’s Reebok Stadium.

Three locations were drawn up for a proposed new multi-sport stadium.

By early 2005, the government were told that a 30,000 capacity sport stadium was the best use for The Maze.

The government proposed a stadium at The Maze, but there were logistical issues.

Politicians wanted a stadium built at The Maze, but the most important people – the fans- didn’t. So, that was scrapped.

They blasted the secrecy that surrounded the government’s plans.

The Maze Stadium was conceived in early 2006, to be opened in 2010 and hosting events at the 2012 Olympics.

After consulting with Football, Rugby and GAA, the plans for the stadium at The Maze were redrawn.

2007 got off to a ominous start, when storm damage to the North Stand meant that Linfield’s match against Limavady United had to be postponed.

This storm damage meant that here was urgent repair work which needed to be done to ensure the friendly against Wales went ahead, but it left the IFA in an awkward situation for future matches.

A senior figure in tourism voiced his concerns about The Maze as a stadium venue.

Fans were later assured that the ground was safe.

Meanwhile, smoking was also banned.

Crusaders voiced their disapproval of The Maze, stating that any new stadium should be in Belfast.

The Railway Stand, rarely used anyway, was put out of action in March 2007.

In April 2007, supporters of a stadium at The Maze got good news when the pro-Maze MLA Edwin Poots became Sports Minister for Northern Ireland.

In the summer of 2007, the IFA were hoping to terminate their contract to use Windsor Park for internationals.

They were publicly backed by the then Northern Ireland manager, Nigel Worthington.

The pro Maze propaganda continued, with the IFA threatening to take home friendlies outside of Northern Ireland.

Linfield fought back, issuing a statement of their own, before a legal expert told the BBC that the IFA were tied to the contract for use of matches at Windsor Park.

While Peter Robinson was open minded on The Maze stadium. Yes you read that right, the DUP were open minded on something.

Research conducted by Belfast City Council suggested that any stadium should be in the city.

Ormeau Road residents were hoping that it wouldn’t be at Ormeau Park. We do love a good ole fashioned Resident’s Group Protest in Northern Ireland.

They need not worry, as wherever Northern Ireland played their matches in the future, it wouldn’t be at Ormeau Park, as Ian Paisley did what he loved most, and said no to something.

In September 2007, any plans for a stadium at Ormeau Park were rejected by Belfast City Council.

Towards the end of 2007, there were concerns over the future of the South Stand.

May 2008 – Pat McShane signs autographs at the Player’s Entrance

May 2008 – Linfield fans outside the South Stand

That summer, Edwin Poots blasted Civil Servants for trying to stop The Maze from happening.

July 2008 – Linfield fans queue up for tickets at the Ticket Office between Railway Stand and South Stand turnstiles.

September 2008 – Setanta setting up a camera over the Railway Stand

July 2008 – North Stand, The Kop, South Stand Terracing

Delays over funding to stadium redevelopment saw the AONISC warn that home games might have to be moved outside Northern Ireland.

December 2008 – TV cameras on top of the South Stand

Early in 2009, it was confirmed that no stadium would be built at The Maze.

The Maze might have died, but Blanchflower Park, a 25,000 capacity stadium in East Belfast was now proposed.

March 2009 – Railway Stand being used for one of it’s final games.

Eventually, the IFA did an about turn, and backed Windsor Park as their venue for internationals.

January 2010 – Snow outside the Turnstiles.

January 2010 – Snow covered pitch, The Kop and South Stan Terracing in shot.

March 2010 – View from the Viewing Lounge

May 2010 – Railway Stand and Viewing Lounge

May 2010 – South Stand

Progress was made, with a deal being put to Linfield. Linfield called an AGM where the deal was approved.

The start of the 2010-2011 saw work being done to the North Stand that saw away fans moved to The Kop, while Linfield fans were based in the South Stand.

Towards the end of the summer of 2010, it was confirmed that the Railway Stand was to be demolished within weeks. It was gone by the end of August.

August 2010 – Railway Stand, just before demolition

August 2010 – Railway Stand, during demolition

September 2010 – Railway Stand, now gone.

October 2010 – Rubble at the junction of South Stand and Viewing Lounge

October 2010 – Temporary seating used for the first time, Northern Ireland v Italy.

October 2010 – Temporary seating in the South Stand

October 2010 – Disabled seating now put in place in the Lower End of the South Stand

October 2010 – Part of the South Stand now closed. Temporary seating in the South Stand terracing now being removed.

November 2010 – Temporary seating in the Railway Stand

In December 2010, freezing weather caused burst pipes to cause some damage to the ground.

Linfield’s match against Crusaders saw away fans being given half of The Kop due to damage to the North Stand.

January 2011 – Temporary Stand where the Railway Stand was, now gone.

February 2011 – Temporary Stand being erected where Railway Stand was.

March 2011 – View from temporary seating in the Railway Stand

April 2011 – Linfield fans entering The Kop.

April 2011 – View as you walk into the South Stand

April 2011 – View from the South Stand

May 2011 – The Kop

July 2011 – Railway Stand turnstile

July 2011 – South Stand as seen from the North Stand.

August 2011 – Floodlight at the junction of South Stand and Railway Stand

September 2011 – Temporary seating in the Railway Stand back up again, with a different colour scheme.

September 2011 – Disabled seating now moved to junction of South Stand and Railway Stand.

October 2011 – Temporary seating now removed from South Stand terracing.

LINFIELD 4-1 PORTADOWN 10.9.2016

Matches against Portadown had proved problematic for Linfield over the past two years, winning only two of the previous nine meetings, a run that included five defeats. The change in personnel and upheaval caused by off the field problems at Portadown meant there was never any danger of it being six defeats in ten games today.

The opening moments of the game were uneventful, with neither side creating any clear opportunities.

As in most games over the past year, Linfield’s best attacking moments came when Paul Smyth got the ball.

However, it was Andrew Waterworth and Ross Gaynor who combined for the opening goal when Gaynor ran through to Waterworth’s flick on and put a left foot finish past David Miskelly.

The goal came in a period when Linfield were having a lot of pressure but no real chances. Now they had a goal to show for it.

Within minutes, Sam Simpson put the ball wide after Roy Caroll dropped a cross. A reminder, that this game was far from won.

Despite being the better team, Linfield had only a 1-0 lead to show for it. If they could get a 2-0 lead, that would be enough to secure the points and avoid a nervous ending.

That goal came just over a minute into the second-half when Mark Stafford headed home from a corner.

The ball went over the line, though Portadown players protested the decision. From where I was sat (at the corner flag at that end of the South Stand) it looked like a clear goal to me.

Roy Carroll was forced into a couple of saves as Portadown tried to make an unlikely comeback.

With just under 20 minutes to go, a volley from Paul Smyth, celebrating his 19th birthday, made it 3-0 and put the result beyond all doubt.

Linfield took the opportunity to make a few substitutions, Kris Bright coming on from the bench and causing problems for Portadown’s defence as both he and Andrew Waterworth chased a goal they both craved.

Portadown got a consolation on 86 minutes when Robert Garrett fired home from long range. It was a goal that even drew some applause from the notoriously hard to please South Standers.

Within a minute, Linfield restored their three goal lead when Portadown tried to play their way of out defence and couldn’t the ball out of their own penalty area, and Kirk Millar won possession to cross for Aaron Burns to head home.

Andrew Waterworth got the goal he craved in injury time. Unfortunately for him, it was disallowed for offside.

It wasn’t a great performance from Linfield, it didn’t need to be.

If it wasn’t for Crusaders win, it would have been a good day for Linfield, with other results going in their favour.

Next up for Linfield, is a trip to Carrick. It’s a game i’ll be missing due to being at a wedding in England. I was hoping the Premier League Fixture Computer would give me a United home match next Sunday while i’m in North-West England, but no, it wasn’t to be.

The Premier League Fixture Computer doesn’t like me, after not giving me a United home game on the weekend Duran Duran did a concert in Manchester last November.

However, I do have a football trip coming up in the next few weeks, as i’ll be heading to Dumfries to see Linfield take on Queen of the South in the Scottish Challenge Cup. Hopefully it goes a bit better than the last time Linfield face a Scottish team.

That was the 7-0 defeat to Rangers last weekend. Sorry to remind you in case you’d removed it from your memory.

Naturally, the game against Ballymena scheduled for that weekend is postponed. Thankfully, Crusaders v Glenavon that weekend is also postponed, denying those two the opportunity to get points on the board while we are inactive.

There’s no immediate rush to play the postponed game against Cliftonville, but it’s important there isn’t a backlog of fixtures in the diary.

And finally, some self promotion, as I announce that 21st September will see the launch of a blog series called There We Were, Now Here We Are, looking back at the Windsor Park Redevelopment from start to finish.

The next Linfield games for me are against title chasing Ards and relegation battling Glentoran. Yep, you read those descriptions right.

Photo Album

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