After a 3-0 defeat to Portadown on the opening day, a trip to East Belfast awaited Linfield, in Warren Feeney’s first derby game as manager.
With Linfield surprisingly attacking their own fans in the first-half, the game started off very open, with both teams having promising attacks.
Midway through the first-half, Warren Feeney, the player, entered the action, as a substitute, giving the Glentoran fans a new panto villain to boo.
The match sharpness wasn’t always there, but the first touch and control was. At times, it felt as though he was trying too hard, trying to be everywhere on the pitch at once.
The first-half was a repeat of the previous Saturday’s game at Portadown, with Linfield having a lot of possession and situations, but no end product, and not a shot on target of worth.
Just as the first-half looked set to be goalless, Linfield got too casual in their left-back position, conceding a soft free-kick.
With Glentoran not having a shot on goal yet, and getting a soft free-kick in first-half stoppage time, it was inevitable what was going to happen, and so it did ……. a David Scullion header puts Glentoran 1-0 up.
If there was one positive, it was that the goal came right at the end of the first-half, meaning that Warren Feeney could get the team straight away to try and resolve the situation.
What Linfield needed, and what was missing on Saturday, was an early second-half fightback. We got one. Unfortunately, by then, it was already 2-0 to Glentoran.
Going 3-0 down shortly after going 2-0 down did for Linfield on Saturday, you cannot underestimate the importance of Aaron Burns header, minutes after David Scullion’s 2nd goal.
Glentoran’s 2 goal lead was quickly wiped out, and it was back to where we started the 2nd half.
Linfield looked worringly fragile in defence, but had renewed belief going forward.
With just under 20 minutes to go, the equaliser came, when Kirk Miller ran with the ball and played the pass to Peter Thompson. As soon as he got the ball, you just knew he was going to score. It was Vintage Thompson.
The only downside, was Sean Ward’s injury in the build-up, winning the ball for Kirk Miller to go on his run.
The pessimist in me thought it was set up for an injury-time 3-2 Glentoran win.
As the game headed towards it’s final stages, Linfield had a late rally. One of those attacks, saw Jimmy Callacher get a second yellow card for a late tackle.
As the game looked set to end a draw, Linfield had one last attack. Warren Feeney ran on to a goal kick but saw his shot saved by Elliott Morris for a corner. The resulting corner went out for another corner.
As the ball went out, I looked at my watch, it said 94:20 – there was only 20 seconds left. It was now or never.
The corner came in, and the ball was put into the net by Aaron Burns. I couldn’t see how, nor did I care.
Warren Feeney’s domestic reign had finally got it’s first win, and in dramatic style.