Not a fixture that traditionally has lots of goals, I turned up at Windsor Park today believing today would be different, and I turned out to be right.
The 5th game in 14 days, it was important to continue the recent run of good form, especially with Cliftonville playing on Monday night. Though Cliftonville have the games in hand, it is important to keep getting the points on the board.
Having got into 3rd outright, it was also important to beat Coleraine, just below us, so that we can start looking upwards, instead of worrying about being caught by the teams below.
Linfield started the better, and got 2 goals by the 10th minute, when Matthew Tipton ran on to a through ball (with some suspect goalkeeping) and then a penalty.
Though Linfield lost some of their early momentum, Coleraine couldn’t get back into the game.
A 3rd goal came from Matthew Tipton and that looked like game over.
This being Linfield, that was too easy, Coleraine scored early in the second-half, and then had chances, before Mark McAllister made it 4-1.
Once again, Coleraine got a goal back, and gave Linfield some nervy moments.
With me being naturally nervous, I was having flashbacks of the Man United-Everton game last season.
Thankfully, the next goal came for Linfield, through Matthew Tipton, scoring his first competitive hat-trick for the club (he scored one in a pre-season game v Orangefield) and the first by a Linfield player this season, before being subbed to a standing ovation.
It seems that everything that was going wrong earlier in the season is now going right. Players who were injured are now fit and coming into form.
There were still concerns with the defence, and a record of one clean sheet in two months is a cause for concern, no matter how good the attackers are on the opposition.
Hopefully, David Armstrong will be recalled for next Saturday in place of William Murphy (a great servant, but Watsomn and Armstrong is the best combination)
The problem is though, that is most likely to be too late. The next three league games are against sides in the bottom half of the table (albeit two who have taken points off us) and Crusaders and Cliftonville won’t be playing on the weekend of 26th January, so there’s a chance to close the gap.
As mentioned on Tuesday, I wasn’t too disappointed Crusaders won today. We play them twice and are four points behind them, they are catchable. It’s Cliftonville we need to lose points.
Talking of which, the Crusaders away game has been moved to a Monday night, which I might be able to get to as i’m going to Old Trafford that weekend, so hopefully, United’s match will be a Saturday, meaning I won’t have a rush from the ferry terminal to Seaview.
Usual phototaking arrangements at Windsor Park, managed to get some ok shots.
Once again, going to Linfield matches has been an enjoyable experience, and something to look forward to. Next week is no different, an Irish Cup tie in January that is worth getting excited about.
This season certainly is a strange one.