The last time I was at Windsor Park, I left fed up and disillusioned, having witnessed Linfield end a pathetic season with a pathetic run of form. What a difference a few months make.
New kit (it’s rather nice), new players (all in the positions which needed strengthened) and Linfield going into the game 2-0 up led to a mood of positivity, not seen at Windsor Park for a while.
The crowd was better than expected, considering it’s a UEFA Cup game, and the opposition not being well known and the tie being as good as dead. Not only that, there was a queue in the club shop before kick-off. Not sure if it was for the new shirt or a Season Ticket, but it was good to see.
For most of the first-half, both teams were, to use a pundits phrase, feeling each other out. IF had attacks but never really threatened. Anytime they got into a shooting position, there was usually a Linfield player getting in the way.
Linfield played well in spells, even *Gasp* playing it out from the back. New goalkeeper Johnny Tuffey seems to be fond of running off his line, but the important thing is, he spotted the danger, and dealt with it, every time.
Eventually Linfield took the lead towards the end of the first-half with a Michael Gault header, before a quick double from Jamie Mulgrew and Phil Lowry killed the game and the tie, if it wasn’t dead already.
The rest of the game was exhibition stuff, though there was a frustration of a lack of subs, to give players some game time, especially with only one friendly played, and no other friendlies scheduled before the next round.
That game is against Xanthi of Greece, who I know little about, but I know they will be better than IF. It was great to be back watching football again, and not only that, great to be enjoying football again.