GLENAVON 0-3 LINFIELD 27.11.2021

Saturday afternoon went well for Linfield. Too well you could say. While fans were making their way along the motorway to Lurgan, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Larne and Crusaders were all dropping points, making this game a great opportunity to move clear of some and pull closer to others.

This game was originally scheduled for the Friday night, but was put back when Linfield were scheduled to play Coleraine in the Unite The Union Cup. That match against Coleraine, would end up being postponed.

Thankfully, the game wasn’t played on the Friday night. Can’t say it would have been much fun matching the match in the middle of Storm Arwen.

A kick-off time of 5.30pm was a little strange, the first time I went to a Linfield League match this time. Even though it meant I would miss the start of Queen Night on BBC Two, it did have it’s advantages such as Applegreen not being full of uncontrollable wee shites in mid afternoon. I might demand that all away games outside Belfast be 5.30pm kick-offs.

If Linfield were to take advantage of others slipping up, they were going to have to do it at a ground where they have had a few slip-ups of their own in recent years, losing on three of their last four visits.

There was a name that stood out in the Linfield starting eleven, David Walsh, a young goalkeeper making his third appearance exactly a year after he made his debut, with Chris Johns missing out through injury.

Another name that caught people’s attention was Kyle McClean on the bench, making a welcome return after injury.

If Glenavon were thinking of putting the young goalkeeper under pressure to see how he handles it, they didn’t get a chance to. It was a very comfortable evening for him.

There was a bit of sloppiness in Linfield’s play early on, with Kirk Millar losing possession, resulting in Danny Wallace setting up Peter Campbell to have a shot blocked by Sam Roscoe.

That would be the only moment of discomfort for Linfield in the first-half, a half that they would dominate.

It didn’t take long for that dominance to be rewarded, when Christy Manzinga got in behind Glenavon’s defence, and had his shot from a wide angle saved by the keeper when a pass to one of two team-mates looked a better option. Just as numerous people were shouting “For fuck sake, pass!!!!”, he fired home to put Linfield 1-0 up.

Manzinga was in the mood for more than one goal, and looked to get it with a spectacular volley, which went over the bar.

The pressure continued, Jordan Stewart continuously making a fool out of whoever was brave enough to try and tackle him whenever he got the ball.

That pressure got rewarded when Christy Manzinga made it 2-0, finishing from close range after a low cross from Kirk Millar, after Glenavon couldn’t clear when Ahmad Salam had a shot blocked. Linfield now had a cushion.

They didn’t stop there, the pressure continued. Most of it coming down Linfield’s right hand side, giving the away fans sat there a close-up view of the attacks.

It didn’t take long before a third goal for Linfield, which came when Ahmad Salam smashed home after a header from Kirk Millar was hooked off the line. Salam continuing where he left off against Cliftonville the previous week. Throughout that attack, Linfield always looked one move ahead of Glenavon.

Even someone as pessimistic and nervous as me knew that the three points were heading to Windsor Park, unless Linfield did something really stupid or Glenavon improved dramatically.

If the performance against Cliftonville was the best in a long time, this was even better, converting dominance into goals.

Games against Carrick Rangers and Dungannon Swifts look like convincing wins, but really they were won with quick goal bursts. This was a total 45 minute (ok, well 42 or 43) performance.

Naturally, Glenavon were going to come out at the start of the second-half. They had nothing to lose.

They had a bit of pressure, a couple of set pieces, but Linfield were able to see the pressure out.

Defending has been one of Linfield’s strong points this season, quite surprising considering the high turnover in defence. So far, they have kept 12 clean sheets in 19 domestic games.

With Linfield having a commanding lead and Glenavon not looking like they were going to eat into it, it was no surprise that the second-half became a non event.

It was obvious that David Healy was looking for Linfield to make it 4-0 as soon as possible so that he could dip into his substitutes with a busy run of fixtures coming up

That had to wait for a bit, but eventually did come in the final twenty minutes.

Amongst those introduced was Kyle McClean, making a welcome return to action after a long term injury.

Two of the other subs brought on, Matt Green and Martin Donnelly got in behind Glenavon’s defence with Donnelly waiting for a cross that never came when Green was out wide. If the roles were reversed, it would have been 4-0.

Three was enough, more than enough, as Linfield made easy work of a traditionally tricky fixture.

To give you an idea how tricky, this was the first time that Linfield have won away to Glenavon by two goals or more since April 2014, fourteen visits ago.

As fans were leaving the ground, they were treated to an interesting choice of music on the tannoy, The Only Way Is Up. The original by Otis Clay, not the cover by Yazz.

I presume it was meant to motivate Glenavon’s players after a disappointing result, but Linfield fans were hoping it would act as an omen/motivation for their own team, who had now moved up to 3rd, just four points behind Cliftonville and with a game in hand.

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2 thoughts on “GLENAVON 0-3 LINFIELD 27.11.2021

  1. Pingback: 2021 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

  2. Pingback: LINFIELD 2-0 GLENAVON 22.1.2022 | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

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