Well, that’s that. What a strange feeling. A free Saturday a month to look forward to over the next three months.
I arrived at Seaview optimistic. The smaller pitch, the closeness of the support to the pitch. If anything, this would have suited us more than playing at Windsor.
The first 20 or so minutes were non eventful, with both teams “feeling each other out” before Brian McCaul put Linfield 1-0 up with a fantastic long range strike. It looked set to be one of those nights, but after the first game, I should have known how quickly football can change.
It was both sides inability to get a two goal lead while on top that brought about this replay, and it was being unable to get a 2-0 lead that did for Linfield last night.
I haven’t seen TV footage of the two main first-half penalty incidents, so can’t comment, but the obvious disappointment shouldn’t take attention from a shocking second-half performance from Linfield.
A season defining game, and there was no fire, no urgency, no imagination. Nothing.
When Crusaders went 2-1 up, it was game over, despite there being 20 minutes to play.
There was no pressure on the Crusaders goal in that time, no wave of attacking to get an equaliser. If anything, Crusaders looked more likely to make it 3-1.
Considering that Crusaders main attacker is quite handy at heading the ball away, the decision to fire crosses and balls in the air was baffling. Just as baffling, was the fact that nobody thought about a Plan B.
What now? The season, effectively, is over, but it shouldn’t be allowed to fizzle out.
There’s still the Setanta Cup to play for, there’s still gaining European football to play for. It might be the UEFA Cup, but there’s a high chance we’ll be seeded, and be able to improve our ranking and co-efficient for future seasons.
With some free Saturday’s over the coming months, hopefully Rangers will be able to invoke the utterly ridiculous “Joker rule” and arrange their promised friendly game on the March or April dates.
Far too many passengers, far too many players just making up numbers. That’s the 11 on the pitch, 5 on the bench, and those not playing.
It’s unlikely i’ll go to the rearranged DC game (I’m not giving up an hour’s pay to sit on a parked bus for one hour for a ten minute journey) so that was my last Linfield game as a 20 something.
It’s been a decade that has seen many highs and lows. Last night was a low. Not just the result, but the manner of it.