With a reduced crowd and no away fans, this was always going to be one of the most surreal meetings between Linfield and Glentoran. Events on the pitch made this one of the most ridiculous and bizarre between the two.

This match should have been played two weeks previously during that midweek matchday, but a combination of international call-ups and Windsor Park being needed for Northern Ireland v Slovakia meant that game was postponed.

Call me cynical, but it seemed that game was scheduled for a date when there was a high possibility it would be postponed so that it could be slotted in for 2021 when there was a chance of playing in front of a bigger crowd.

That theory was soon debunked when it was slotted in at seven days notice.

I have another theory. With games now being postponed due to Covid Protocols and teams now having a backlog of games, the two clubs wanted the game slotted in as soon as possible.

This match, between top and bottom, would be the last chance Linfield fans would have to see their team in the flesh for at least two weeks, due to nobody being allowed into football stadiums because Trevor from the Golf Club and his wife Mandy can’t behave themselves in Tesco when their stock up on food for their weekend dinner parties.

Thankfully, I managed to get a ticket quite easily, logging straight in at 10am on Saturday morning to get one. I’m getting quite good as this online pushing people out of the way lark.

An injury for Andrew Waterworth meant a start for Shayne Lavery, looking to build on his goal against Glenavon three days earlier, while Jamie Mulgrew came in to midfield for Navid Nasseri, as Linfield went for a 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation.

Glentoran had the first attempt on goal with a header, but it was Linfield who soon took control of the game.

Kirk Millar had a free-kick go wide while Kyle McClean had a shot go just wide.

Linfield then had a penalty appeal when a cross hit Luke McCullough’s hand

Shayne Lavery then pounced on Glentoran goalkeeper Dale Coeling dropping a cross. Unfortunately, the angle was too wide for a shot, but his cross caused some concern in Glentoran’s defence. Unfortunately, nobody in a Linfield shirt could get on the end of it.

Coeling recently had a shaky moment playing for Gibraltar against San Marino that did the round on Social Media a few weeks back. His evening didn’t get much better.

Linfield got the breakthrough when Jordan Stewart got the ball out left and skinned his man. He fired at goal from a tight angle. In my head I was bemoaning him not crossing. That was soon short lived when the ball hit Dale Coeling and then bounced in off him.

Technically speaking, it was an own goal rather than a goal for Stewart. It didn’t matter, Linfield had a deserved lead.

The only thing wrong with the first-half performance was that they didn’t get a much needed second goal. They would soon be regretting that in the opening minutes of the second-half.

Chris Johns spilled a shot and Paul O’Neill was the first to react, beating two Linfield defenders to the ball to make it 1-1. Linfield’s first-half performance had been undone.

Linfield’s response to the goal wasn’t that of Champions, looking shaky for the next five to ten minutes and being thankful to be 1-1, Conor Pepper being forced into a clearance a few yards out from his own goal.

Thankfully, Linfield survived that and were gifted an opportunity to retake the lead following some comical defending from Glentoran.

The ball looked set to go to Dale Coeling to pick it up and start another attack. For some reason, Seanan Clucas decided to pass the ball back to him, giving Stephen Fallon enough of a sniff of the ball to get there first and be fouled by Coeling.

Just like his goal against Glenavon, Stephen Fallon got rewarded for gambling and making a run. It’s what he does.

After a lengthy delay, Shayne Lavery stepped up and made it 2-1. Just about though. I was at the other end and thought he had missed it. It was like Gabriel Batistuta’s penalty against England in France 98.

The retaken lead didn’t last for long though, as within a few minutes, Jay Donnelly snuck in to fire home from close range.

Linfield responded by bringing on Navid Nasseri for Kyle McClean, reverting to their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.

They were given a boost, if not a goal, when Shayne Lavery got in behind Glentoran’s defence and was taken out by Coeling with a reckless tackle for a straight red card. He was already on a yellow, so he would have went anyway.

Glentoran still had a substitution left, so we weren’t going to be treated to an outfield player in goals, as Rory Brown, being watched on the live stream by mum Agnes and partner Dino.

He was immediately tested, being forced into a save from the resulting free-kick.

The introduction of Christy Manzinga for Conor Pepper meant that Kirk Millar was now being shifted to right-back as Linfield went more attacking.

Although, the last time Kirk Millar was moved to right-back, he gifted Coleraine a goal with a stray backpass. Hopefully, this would have a better outcome.

However, it was Glentoran who got the next goal in the game when Robbie McDaid found himself in acres of space to put Glentoran 3-2 up with just minutes remaining.

Linfield responded by bringing on Matthew Shevlin for Stephen Fallon. It was a case of getting as many forward players on the pitch as possible. It wasn’t really working.

One one of the few times it did work, Patrick McClean was able to clear a lobbed effort from Jimmy Callacher off the line.

As the minutes ticked down, there was another red card for Glentoran when Seanan Clucas was sent-off for a wild challenge on Navid Nasseri.

It was the third time that Clucas was sent-off in a match involving Linfield, after being sent-off for Linfield against Glenavon in 2014, and then for Dunagannon Swifts against Linfield in 2018. On both those occasions, Linfield got a late winner. A late equaliser was what they were looking for here.

And it came, in the nick of time, with just over ten seconds remaining, when Jimmy Callacher headed home to secure a draw.

With all the stoppages within stoppage time, there should have been another minute added. You never know what could have happened.

A mixture of one point gained and two dropped, we won’t fully know until May. At the moment, it feels like two dropped, especially as this match was followed-up with defeat at Warrenpoint.

Linfield could have went four clear at the top, now they trail Larne by one point.

The most concerning aspect is the manner of the goals conceded. We’ve thrown away two leads and gifted five goals in one week. Especially after going into it with two successive clean sheets.

Larne have a Man City 2011-2012 vibe about them. They got off to a good start and built momentum, but they didn’t run away with it and really only won it because United threw it away. We simply can’t afford to let them start to build a lead like Chelsea did in 2004-2005.

Up next is Cliftonville, who have lost three of their last four games, and we have a good record against in recent years. Time to put this wobbly run behind us and go again. Unfortunately. that will be viewed from a laptop due to lockdown measures.

And finally, Diego Maradona. What can you say? That is a round of applause that was truly merited. Bravo sir.

Photo Album

LINFIELD 2-0 GLENAVON 21.11.2020

Having been spoilt by seven and eight goals on Glenavon’s last two visits to Windsor Park, it was just the two for Linfield fans to cheer in this match.

However, it was more than Glenavon got, which is the aim of the game, as Linfield continued their winning start to the Irish League season.

It had been three weeks since Linfield’s last game, and the last time their fans will have had the chance to see them in League action.

Since then, they’ve recorded wins at Portadown and Coleraine. The sense of frustration at crowd restrictions being felt especially in these games as

Linfield scored vital second goals at ends where their fans traditionally assemble. Just imagine what the scenes would have been like. 

Glenavon had a mixed start to the season, with just one win from their opening five games, but also only one defeat, and an unbeaten run of four games.

As well as an unbeaten run, Glenavon were hoping that omens would be on their side, as the last time 21st November fell on a Saturday, in 2015, Glenavon beat Linfield 3-2.

Of the four players who scored in that match, two of them were on the bench for Linfield, Daniel Kearns who opened the scoring for Glenavon that day and Jamie Mulgrew, back in the matchday squad after injury.

Kirk Millar, who made it 2-2 for Linfield that day was in the starting eleven, alongside Navid Nasseri who came in for Matthew Clarke in Linfield’s only change from the previous week’s game at Coleraine.

The other scorer that day? Joel Cooper, who left Linfield this summer for Oxford United.

There was a change in pre-match arrangements with both teams entering the field from makeshift dressing rooms in Corporate Areas as opposed to warming up in their kits and then getting ready to start the game.

The Referee signalled for both teams to change ends, with Linfield unusually attacking the Railway End in the first-half.

Usually, i’d be muttering under my breath and then making a quick dash to get a new seat where the South Stand and Railway Stands meet. Still getting used to being in the same seat all match.

It was Glenavon who had the first attempt on goal when a free-kick from Michael O’Connor (not that one) went just wide.

Navid Nasseri had Linfield’s first real opportunity when he stretched to a cross that was easily held by Jonathan Tuffey. If he was able to make full contact, he would have scored.

It had been a slow start from Linfield, but they were now starting to find a groove, beginning to have a lot of pressure, with Andrew Waterworth.

That pressure was rewarded when Stephen Fallon got in behind Glenavon’s defence unnoticed, and lifted the ball over Jonathan Tuffey. Windsor Park waited to see if the ball would drop down into the net, and then celebrated when it did.

Fallon had put Linfield 1-0 during that famous 8-1 win in January, albeit a lot earlier in the day. Hopes for a repeat were ambitious, but Linfield had the lead.

That was almost undone within a minute whenever a defensive mix-up gave Conor McCloskey a clear sight of goal, but was denied by a superb save from Chris Johns.

Christy Manzinga and Shayne Lavery were introduced for Waterworth and Nasseri as Linfield chased a second goal, having been denied earlier in the second-half when Jimmy Callacher had a header cleared off the line.

Manzinga looked decent when he got the ball and his forward movements were causing worry for Glenavon. However, he was soon causing worry for his own team.

A kicked aimed at a Glenavon player ended up making (small) contact with his own player. Despite that lucky escape, he followed up it by punching a Glenavon player in the knee, immediately being summoned to the Referee.

Myself and those around me were expecting a red card, myself and those around me were surprised and relieved to only see a yellow.

Discipline is starting to become a worry. That would have been Linfield’s fifth red card of the season. Disadvantaging ourselves within games and then future games with player unavailability.

I didn’t see it at the time, but Manzinga was stood on by his opponent. Still no excuse though. We need to be better than that.

Manzinga was soon having a more positive influence on the game when his header was dropped by Jonathan Tuffey, giving Shayne Lavery enough of a sniff to poke the ball home from close range to make it 2-0 and giving Linfield some breathing space.

In his post-match interview, Gary Hamilton bemoaned the non red card for Manzinga changed the game. It didn’t really. If he did go off, Linfield would have ground out a 1-0 win. It wouldn’t have been fun to watch.

Also, his goalkeeper made a shocking mistake for what should have been a basic save.

All Linfield had to do to get three points was to not do anything stupid in their own third. Even when they did just after going 1-0 up, Chris Johns was there to make a fantastic save. That second goal gave Linfield space to breathe for the final stages of the game.

Just before the goal, Jamie Mulgrew was introduced as a substitute and appeared to have an instant impact without doing anything.

If Glenavon were annoyed about Manzinga setting up a goal, they were almost annoyed by him scoring a third for Linfield, but a poor touch when put through denied him that opportunity.

As the teams left the pitch, the latest scores from the other games (on a reduced fixture list due to Covid precautions) were read out with Larne being held at home by Cliftonville.

However, a 95th minute winner would secure the points for Larne as Linfield fans were leaving Windsor Park, meaning that a win in their game in hand would see them go four points clear instead of six.

You can always rely on Cliftonville to be useless when Linfield need them to get a result.

An enjoyable Saturday at the football, but it could be the last Saturday at the football for a while as the next two weekends will see games be played behind closed doors.

Don’t worry if you can’t get to a game, you can fill your Saturday afternoon by queuing up to get into Primark, or by walking through Belfast City Centre in a group of six and spread yourself across the whole footpath. All perfectly safe.

How ironic, the people who like to moralise about the behaviour of football fans are causing football fans to be punished through their behaviour.

As a result of this, the start date of the NI Championship has been put back.

Talking of the NI Championship, Harland and Wolff Welders are posting progress photos of their new ground. I’m excited to visit it in 2021. To be honest, i’m just excited to visit any ground that isn’t Windsor Park.

That is the worst thing about Northern Ireland’s defeat to Slovakia. Football would have had the DUP by the balls if Northern Ireland had won that match. Want a free ticket for Dublin or Bilbao? Then work for it.

Despite that result, i’m still planning to take in group games in Dublin.

Unfortunately, it will be Poland v Slovakia and Slovakia v Sweden that i’ll be trying to get a ticket for.In my opinion, Euro 2021 is still up in the air. If a vaccine can be rolled out by April, it will go ahead.

I wouldn’t be surprised of it got rolled out first in the 24 competing countries and the 3 non qualifying hosts. And then Pfizer end up becoming Champions League sponsors for the next ten years.

To still be waiting for a first (outright) win under Ian Baraclough is disappointing, but it’s important to realise that the recruitment process for a new Manager was begun with Qatar 2022 and Euro 2024 in mind.

Relegation from the UEFA Nations League was disappointing. It’s a competition that is a waste of time, but Northern Ireland have to be wise to the game and play it to our advantage.

Austria finished 2nd in Northern Ireland’s group in 2018-2019, and got rewarded with a generous qualifying group for Euro 2020 (now Euro 2021) and a generous group for that tournament. That could easily have been us.

The draw for the European Qualifiers of Qatar 2022 will be made in a few weeks, and Northern Ireland will be in Pot 3.

There’s no weak teams in Pot 1, unsurprisingly. If I had to choose one, maybe Denmark.

Pot 2 has a few teams that could be beaten. I’d go with Romania. Northern Ireland held their own against them in the Nations League.

I’m glad that Northern Ireland drew at home to Romania. It would have been a sickner to be relegated because Norway forfeited a match or because we ballsed up a lead in Vienna.

Pot 4, Georgia or Belarus. Pot 5, Andorra. Pot 6, San Marino.

There’s no point in looking at the best draw for trips with still no guaranteed date for full stadiums. In an ideal world, England, Wales and/or Lithuania would be tempting.

Finally, we sign off with another shambles, with the County Antrim Shield slotted in to take place at Seaview in an empty stadium in early December.

Surely this game could have been put back to March or April when there is a chance of getting more fans into a ground?

If Linfield were involved in this match, i’d be absolutely fuming about these arrangements.

Especially Glentoran, who had three matches to make up in the League.

The first of those was against Linfield in the League three days after this.

You can read about that in the next blogpost.

Photo Album

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is q9RnWURN_PI.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is UoufEvq9sUU.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sTtn-YcOQho.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is oqrnyNlhdbo.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is RrhGkuxvmwk.jpg


Day two of my long week off. The weather was nice (well, it was dry) so I might as well make the Thursday the day for my monthly trip to Cavehill.

I actually managed to get up early for once. It was quite easy, and essential in order to avoid crowds, to get up early during the Summer.

However, darker mornings and working from home meaning I don’t actually have to get up as early, have made it a lot harder for me to get up early in the Winter months.

Somehow, I managed it on this occasion, arriving in the Car Park at around 8.20am, ready for my ascent to the top.

There was a spectacular sunrise that morning, unfortunately, I missed the best of it in terms of phototaking. 

The good news is, sunrises will be later in December, meaning that if I arrive early in the morning, I can be at the top (or en route to the top) in time to get some photos of it. 

Despite it being a working day, it was unusually busy. There was also an unusually high dogs to people ratio. They were all good dogs.

Friday was set aside for Blackmountain. Purely by accident, any Friday off seems to be spent at Blackmountain.

Not this one, wet weather put paid to that.

Annoyingly, Saturday and Sunday were nice days, dry and bright, perfect for phototaking. Unfortunately, that didn’t suit my own schedule, so I would leave it to Monday, my last of the days off.

Monday started off well, dry, as a headed out early(ish) and arrived there just before 9am.

The weather was not kind. The sky was dull, not making for good photos. It was not unexpectedly cold. Almost as cold as when I visited Vilnius last year. I adopted full Lithuania Mode in my attire.

I took the shorter route up to the top as the clouds were giving a vibe of potential rain. 

My suspicions were found to be correct, a light drop at first, before turning into a full rainstorm just as I was making my descent to the bottom. 

Not my most enjoyable visit to Blackmountain. Hopefully, December’s visit will be a lot better.

I’ll be planning to make visits to Blackmountain and Cavehill during my time off in December, as well as slotting in a trip to Lisnabreeny Hill, having been last there in September, and hopefully, Belvoir Forest Park.

Regarding Blackmountain, there is a hotel nearby called Standing Stone Lodge. I’m considering an overnight stay at some point in 2021, possibly in Spring/Early Summer, price depending so that I can catch sunset photos, having a relaxing sleep before getting up early to get sunrise photos. I might as well spoil myself.

Photo Album

Blackmountain Photo Album

Cavehill – October 2020

Cavehill – August 2020

Cavehill – June 2020

Cavehill – February 2020

Cavehill – November 2019


Having recently visited Giant’s Ring and Terrace Hill Garden in recent months, it was only natural that I would complete the set by visiting Minnowburn.

As I said when visiting Terrace Hill Garden, I only visited the entrance to Minnowburn, I was curious to delve in and explore it the next opportunity I got.

I decided to use my monthly week off (This is what happens when you have a backlog of Annual Leave) to do so.

My day didn’t go to plan at first.

I did check the Weather Forecast, and it said it would be raining on Wednesday morning. I woke up, looked out the window and saw that it was nice and dry. However, while I was having my breakfast, a rainstorm started.

Thankfully, I wasn’t up and out by that time.

Change of plan then, out in the car to do some shopping and errands, a brightening up in late morning meant that I was now getting primed and ready to head out after lunch.

By the time I arrived, I had a lot of daylight to work with, which made for some nice photos.

As I was walking along the path, I thought to myself that this looked familiar. Then it dawned on me that this is where I walked when exploring Giant’s Ring, which led me to Gilchrist Bridge, heading in that direction via a detour through Edenderry Nature Reserve.

Naturally, I headed back from Gilchrist Bridge. Once I got back to the Car Park, I went to explore the road that went in the other direction.

And explored it, and explored it. A quick Google search of a business I spotted revealed it was Edenderry Park. As it was getting dark and wet, I headed back to where I was parked.

That was, until there was a sudden and spectacular explosion of daylight, so I stopped to try and get as many photos of it as I could on my way back to the car. I would have preferred it if that happened when I was walking to and from Gilchrist Bridge.

I managed to accidentally plan my journey home to perfection. Just before the rush hour of people coming home from work, and just after the schools closed.

The triangle of Minnowburn, Giant’s Ring and Terrace Hill Garden are well worth a visit. If you really want to, you can take a few hours and explore it all in one go.

Nearby, I was hoping to get stuck into Belvior Forest Park when I have some time off over Christmas.

However, my bike suddenly became out of action, so I headed over the weekend after and had a walk about. I didn’t have my camera with me. The weather was dull so the photos wouldn’t have been good anyway.

I had an enjoyable walk, and had six different dogs climbing over me to get a hug. I like this place. I’ll definitely make plans to return with my camera in December.

With each of my previous extended periods of time off, I was planning on keeping an eye out of any last minute deals for a trip away somewhere.

That was never going to happen in this November time off. Binevenagh and Bray Head will have to wait until 2021.

The same applies to Arthur’s Seat with Scotland not getting much better, ruling out any possibility of sneaking away to Edinburgh. Even with the possibility of a vaccine in the early months of next year,  Fringe 2021 is still up in the air.

2021 will be the first year in a long time that I will wake up on New Year’s Day with no trips booked.

What I hope to do at some point is make a return visit to Old Trafford, especially as my last visit was a defeat.

If fans are allowed in toward the end of the season, I might look at sneaking off to the game against Leicester, scheduled for a midweek in May.

If I do, I’ll try to sneak in a trip to the Peak District. There are still a lot of things that need to fall in place for that to happen.

I might even get myself into gear and head to the Mournes. 

All I have for the rest of the year is the hope that there will be lots of snow in Belfast to photograph.

Photo Album

Giant’s Ring – September 


It’s crunch time for countries wanting to qualify for the 1990 World Cup, as David Platt is the cover star of Match, himself having ambitions of going to Italy in seven months time.

Scotland and Republic Of Ireland both need a point from their final group match to qualify, with Erik Thorstvedt has a warning for Scotland that Norway have come to crash the party.

Mark Wright gets a double page spread, amid calls for him to get a recall to the England squad, with testimonials from fellow First Division defenders.

Match has a feature where they review fanzines. This week’s subject is “A Load Of Bull”, dedicated to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The scored 8 out of 10 for Quality and Value For Money, but only 4 for Pictures and 5 for Campaigning.

York City were the subject of a one page team poster.

Peter Beagrie has just joined Everton from Stoke, and tells Match he is full of praise of Stoke’s managerial team of Alan Ball and Mick Mills, who he credits for turning him into a top flight footballer.

In ads, you could buy a VHS of 110 Serie A goals from the 1988-1989 season for just £9.99

Match looks at Bristol Rovers, who are challenging for promotion to Division Two despite having one of the worst away records in Division Three.


Gary McAllister is the cover star of 90 Minutes as Leeds aim to reach the FA Cup Final, having already reached the League Cup Final.

In news, Manchester United want to sign Fernando Couto from Parma, while Bradford City have announced plans to build a 4,500 seater stand.

There is a three page feature on newly promoted Middlesbrough, who are sliding down the table after making a promising start.

Also getting a few pages is a feature listing the best (or possibly worst) short stays by players at a club.

90 Minutes Live canvasses opinions outside Watford v Ipswich, asking if managers should return to their former clubs, after Graham Taylor has returned to Watford for a second spell.

Leeds get a double page spread, having reached their first Wembley final in 23 years, and are aiming to reach a second on in the FA Cup, while Steve Walsh of Leicester City is interviewed, as they aim for a quick return to the Premier League, adding that none of their rivals stand out.

In competitions, you could win a trip to see Sampdoria take on AC Milan.

The magazine ends with an interview with Scotland manager Craig Brown.


David Beckham is the cover star of Football Europe at the start of a World Cup year.

The editorial looks forward to the year ahead, predicting that an English club would win a European trophy, a prediction that would come true when Chelsea win the European Cup Winners Cup.

Diego Simeone, captain of Argentina, gets a three page interview as the gets ready for the Summer’s World Cup.

Talking of the World Cup, that gets a six page profile, with the draw for the finals having just been made.

Another draw, for the Euro 2000 Qualifiers, is on the horizon, and UEFA have announced that England would be a top seed.

Dynamo Kiev get a three page profile, described as a “dark horse” for the European Cup having beaten Barcelona home and away in the group stages.

Looking back at that group stages, there is a three page review of the group stages.


Graham Rix is the cover star of this week’s edition of Shoot, as they look at how he can force his way into the England squad for that summer’s World Cup in Spain.

Shoot’s editorial focuses on the support given by their readers to England’s mascot for the World Cup, a bulldog called Bulldog Bobby.

Also wanting to go to the World Cup is Iain McCulloch, with the Notts County star telling Shoot he wants to break into Scotland’s squad.

Cover star Graham Rix gets a full page profile, with Shoot looking at hos chances of reaching England’s squad for Spain.

Phil Thompson uses his column to state that he wants to become Liverpool captain again, after being relieved from the role by Bob Paisley for his own benefit.

Kevin Keegan is going to the World Cup in goalscoring form, with him leading the race for the Adidas Golden Show at the halfway stage.

Ray Wilkins uses his column to praise UEFA Cup holders Ipswich Town, declaring that if anybody is going to win the double in 1982, it will be them.

Danny McGrain uses his column to propose a revolutionary idea, that Scottish football should be played over the summer from March to November instead of August to May.

An injury to Pat Jennings means that Jim Platt will play in Northern Ireland’s forthcoming Home International against England, and he tells Shoot he wants to use it to stake his claim to be first choice keeper in Spain.

In world news, Pele offers advice to Diego Maradona, telling him to trust in god and he will have a rewarding life.

Don Howe has been appointed to the England coaching staff, and Shoot canvasses Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings, who says this appointment will improve England.

Kevin Bond of Manchester City gets profiled, and he reveals that his favourite singer is Stevie Wonder.