Was Lurgan bound to see Linfield take on Glenavon today, a ground I have never seen Linfield lose at. Thankfully, that record stayed intact. In fact, it was Linfield’s 8th win out of the last 9 visits.
Unsurprisingly, it was the stand-out game in today’s fixture list as 2nd took on 3rd, Glenavon edging out Linfield on goal difference.
Linfield went into the game on a five match winning run, but none of those games were against teams at the top. This, was the first big test for the new post August Linfield.
From the first whistle, Linfield dominated possession but didn’t have many clear cut chances. Michael Carvill was getting lots of joy down the left when he got the ball. Infuriatingly, he wasn’t put on the ball enough.
Linfield had a goal disallowed for offside. I couldn’t see clearly so can’t comment. The important thing in football is to score when you’re on top. Before you could say “The important thing in football is to score when you’re on top”, Glenavon went 1-0 up when a Guy Bates header looped in.
Linfield had yet to come from behind and win (or even get a point) this season. In recent years, the inability to come from behind to win games has become an unfortunate trademark of Linfield, but looking around after Glenavon’s goal there seemed to be something different in body language and attitude amongst players and fans.
Linfield responded by carrying on where they left off. Chances kept coming. Nothing glaring, but enough possession to suggest they were the more likely team to score.
Perversely, you got the feeling Linfield would be better off going in at half-time 1-0 down as they would have went for it at the start of the second-half more than if it was 1-1.
Just before half-time, Linfield got an equaliser when Peter Thompson’s shot was cleared by a defender on the line straight to Michael Carvill, who finished. From where I was sat, it looked as though Thompson’s shot was going wide, but TV pictures seemed to suggest otherwise. From there, there was only one winner.
It was expected that Linfield would start the second-half strong, but I don’t think anyone expected two goals in the opening five minutes. Game over.
Almost, with the 2-2 draw/capitulation in 2011 still a recent memory, nothing was being taken for granted. Whatever Glenavon threw at Linfield, Linfield dealt with it.
Overall, a good day, standing in the sun at one of my favourite away grounds watching Linfield win to go top of the league.
Also worth noting, that it was a bigger crowd today than recent meetings at Mourneview Park, today’s game not being all ticket.