Eetu Four-tainen, you could say. Unless you’re German, then you can say Eetu Vier-tainen. You felt it wouldn’t be long until he opened his goalscoring account, he did it in style, becoming the first Linfield player to hit four in a game since Andrew Waterworth. Coincidentally., that was also in a 5-0 win over Dungannon Swifts during the month of March, back in 2019.

Four and five were key numbers pre-match, having navigated four successive wins since defeat at The Oval, and were looking for a fifth to go into the split in a good run of form, which always helps.

Kieron Evans was rewarded for some impressive cameos with a start, with Sam Roscoe coming into the defence and Ethan Devine having to wait on the bench despite his goalscoring heroics last weekend.

There wasn’t long to wait for an opening goal, when Chris McKee set up Eet Vertainen, who cut inside and fired home to put Linfield 1-0 up.

Just ten minutes on the clock and the breakthrough Linfield needed in a game where it was so important to get an early lead.

The game then became Attack v Defence, with Linfield trying to work an opening through Dungannon.

Linfield just needed a second goal to be sure. The longer it stayed 1-0, the more Dungannon would have felt they could get something out of this game.

Chris Shields had a shot go over. He would have fancied it having scored his only goal from open play for Linfield against Dungannon in January.

Just after the half hour, Linfield doubled their lead when Eetu Vertainen was played in behind Dungannon’s defence.

It looked like the opportunity had gone when he was now in a difficult angle to shoot. A low composed finish from a tight angle snuck in, and Linfield now had a cushion.

Such a lead was a luxury at Windsor Park this season.

This was the first time since October that Linfield had a two goal lead at home in the League before the 85th minute.

Every other game had wither been a one goal win, a late second clincher or a draw. In other words, up for grabs right until the end.

Even though the points were secured, having such a lead at home had been a rare experience for Linfield fans.

It wasn’t long before the lead was extended, but this time it was Vertainen providing the assist for Chris McKee to attempt to go around the keeper. He got a bit lucky when the ball fell back to him, but he made no mistake with his second chance, firing home from close range to make it 3-0.

Just before the end of the half, it was almost four when a cross was pulled back to Eetu Vertainen who fired over.

You could see by the look on his face how frustrated he was not to get a hat-trick. He was fancying getting one.

3-0 at half-time meaning that Linfield fans could prepare for the second-half in a relaxed mood. Let’s hope this sort of thing catches on.

With the title race so tight, even the goal difference was relatively tight, so it was important to try and give that a boost.

It was in Linfield’s favour, but not buy a big amount, where a big win for Cliftonville or Glentoran could wipe it out.

A big win for Linfield though, could pull them out of reach in that regard.

It looked like it was going to be 4-0 when Kirk Millar made space for himself in the penalty area but his left foot shot went well wide.

With each passing minute, it was obvious that the game was won, taking the opportunity to bring on a few subs, with a return to action for Martin Donnelly amongst them.

Eventually, it became 4-0 when Eetu Vertainen was played through, cut inside and finished to complete his hat-trick.

It got even better soon afterwards when Vertainen finished again from close range to make it 5-0.

With the game long won, attention turned to results elswhere. It was a mixed bag from a Linfield point of view, with a win for Cliftonville and a draw for Glentoran.

That gives Linfield a five point lead over Glentoran, despite Glentoran winning the League in mid February.

Linfield’s lead at the top has now increased to four points, over Cliftonville who have jumped up to second.

It is a deceptive lead, as Cliftonville have a game in hand. That will come in midweek against Dungannon Swifts.

I can’t honestly see Dungannon getting anything against Cliftonville, but you live in hope.

Next week sees Linfield travel to Warrenpoint Town in a lunchtime kick-off live on Sky.

Playing earlier gives them the opportunity to put even more pressure on Cliftonville and Glentoran, but only if they win.

It’s a game where they won’t have McKee or Vertainen available due to International Call-Ups.

That would leave Ethan Devine and Andrew Clarke as the only striking options available, but that was the front two they finished against Crusaders the previous week.

I’m going to take advantage of the early kick-off by checking out Warrenpoint after the game. Hit me up with suggestions.

It is doable to head straight to Lansdowne Road for Republic Of Ireland v Belgium at 5pm, if you’re into Groundhopping. I am joking on that regard.

Talking of football trips, i’m looking at going away for my birthday in February next year, so looking for suggestions. I am open to travelling from Dublin as the options from Belfast are crap.

It doesn’t have to be a football trip, but it would be rude not to.

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I guess you could say it was Devine Intervention. A bit obvious, but it felt like it.

In a season where every point is vital, a header which turned one into three was most welcome.

Going into this game, Linfield and Cliftonville had the same amount of wins, but it was Linfield who led by a point due to drawing one more game and losing one less.

Despite that draw giving Linfield the lead, too many of them can kill you, and one here was letting Glentoran back into it and handing the initiative to Cliftonville.

If draws can kill you, so can postponements. Just ask Crusaders.

Throughout the season, they have always had games in hand. Throughout the season, wins in those games in hand could have put them five, six or seven points off the top, close enough to be considered in the title race, albeit having to do a lot of chasing.

The problem for them has been getting those games slotted in and won.

More recently, the problem for Crusaders has been losing big games, as 2022 has already seen them lose to Glentoran and Cliftonville. meaning they can no longer be considered part of the title picture.

It’s also a benchmark of sorts for Linfield, to keep clear of Cliftonville and Glentoran, they had to beat a team that had already lost to them this year.

There wasn’t long to wait for the first attack of the game, just eighty seconds after Chris McKee stretched but was unable to get on the end of a Kirk Millar pass in a counter attack after a Crusaders free-kick was cleared.

The rest of the early stages was the two teams, as Commentators say, “Feeling each other out” with no clear chances.

That was to change on twenty minutes when Chris McKee timed his run to perfection, and got onto a Ahmed Salam pass and found himself through on goal.

There was still quite a bit to go, but there was only really going to be one outcome, as he put Linfield 1-0 up.

The lead didn’t last long, as within five minutes, a flick on put Johnny McMurray through on goal and a gentle lob over Chris Johns made it 1-1 with a goal quite similar to Ben Kennedy’s goal against Linfield in November.

All the work getting in front was now undone.

Even though Linfield are unbeaten at home in the League, there is an element of frustration that the record includes four draws, all 1-1 after after going 1-0 up.

Surely this wouldn’t be another one?

Linfield would have been inspired, if you will, by the fact that the last team to score an equaliser at Windsor Park, Larne, left empty handed.

Hopefully, 2022 will be the year of Linfield killing teams off at home.

Certainly not in this first-half, a half that meandered and looked like to be going 1-1.

Frustrating, but something that could be built on.

However, things soon took a turn in Linfield’s favour when a shot from Kirk Millar was adjudged to have hit a Crusaders player’s hand.

Same drill as in the build-up to his penalty against Ballymena United three days earlier.

This was of massive importance and he simply had to score. Chris Shields perfect record was making me nervous.

I don’t know why I was nervous, as he made no mistake to put Linfield 2-1 up, and totally changing the mood and atmosphere inside Windsor Park.

However, the game was not won. That was even more evident when Ben Kennedy fired a long range shot over in the early minutes of the second-half.

Linfield had their moments in Crusaders final third but weren’t able to make the most of it.

Just before the hour, Crusaders were presented with an opportunity to equalise when they got a penalty after a handball award against Jimmy Callacher.

It was an incident similar to the Linfield penalty, so at least it was consistent so I can’t complain.

But I will because i’m a football fan.

Ben Kennedy was the man to take it, despite missing a penalty when the sides met at Seaview in November.

He almost missed this one, Johns went the right way but just couldn’t get his hand on it.

From where I was sat, I thought he did.

Back to square one.

Linfield almost responded immediately, when Eetu Vertainen worked space for himself down the right, picked out Kirk Millar whose shot was saved on the line by Jonathan Tuffey and landed straight to a Crusaders defender to clear.

Of course it did. Surely it’s not going to be one of those nights.

Linfield responded by bringing on Kieron Evans, Jordan Stewart and Mike Newberry.

With fifteen minutes to go, it looked like Stewart and Evans were going to get another lead for Linfield.

Evans was able to make space for himself to shoot, his shot was saved by Tuffey, but he couldn’t hold onto it.

Just as Jordan Stewart was setting himself up for the rebound, a shot will score and so would a pass to Ethan Devine, he found himself frustrated by a tackle from a Crusaders player.

Surely it wasn’t going to be one of those nights.

One last throw of the dice for Linfield, as Andrew Clarke came on for Eetu Vertainen.

However, it was Crusaders who had the next chance to get the fifth goal of the game which, with each passing minute, would be likely to secure the three points.

A cross fell to him, with his back to goal, and he was able to flick it up and hook it goalwards, like Zoltan Gera’s goal for Fulham against United in 2009. Yes, that’s a bit of a niche reference.

Thankfully, Chris Johns was able to save it at the expense of a corner. One point wasn’t ideal, but it was better than no points.

At the time, it felt like a big save. We just didn’t realise how big it was.

As the clock was about to hit 93 minutes, Linfield had one last attack (there was still one minute of injury time left) and won a corner.

The person sat next to me said “It’s now or never”. It turned out to be now.

Ethan Devine headed home from the corner and Windsor Park erupted. In a title race so tight where every point counts, one header which turned one point into three was celebrated in a way you would expect of a goal so important.

Although, with thirty seconds remaining, and the way the game had gone, you weren’t quite celebrating the three points yet.

Thankfully, Linfield were able to see out those remaining thirty seconds and secure a most dramatic win that caused a few sighs in North and East Belfast.

Curiously, Cliftonville and Glentoran both had a game in hand on Linfield, and they were both against Dungannon Swifts.

Glentoran got their game against them played, and managed to win 1-0.

Dungannon will be at Windsor Park as Linfield’s next opponents.

This week, Warren Feeney found himself new employment as manager of Welling United, replacing Peter Taylor.

It’s not often a former England manager gets replaced by a former Linfield manager.

Unless Watford sack Roy Hodgson and replace him with David Jeffrey.

That would be very Watford.

If you care, they play in the National League South, Sixth Tier in England. They’re trying to stay there as they’re in a relegation fight.

It’s in South London, so if there was a pre-season friendly away from home, I could base myself in Brighton.

I’m getting a bit giddy, aren’t I?

You know the list, all away – Bray, Stranraer, Brantwood and Bangor (on the day of Seaside Revival)

Forget about the Summer, it’s still a long way away.

Let’s just take it one game at a time.

As an addendum, I made the most of being off on St Patrick’s Day to go an see the new mural of George Best in Cregagh that has been doing the rounds on Social Media.

It’s a fantastic artwork, the only problem is, it’s very inaccessible, sandwiched inbetween two houses and difficult to photograph.

Even if you don’t want to take photographs and just want to look at it, it’s still very inaccessible.

Which is a pity, as it is a mural that deserves to dominate the whole area an be seen from afar.

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At this time of year, it’s all about results. If the result at Carrick glossed over the performance, there was no faulting this performance with ten men at a ground where they had lost on their last two visits.

The starting eleven was much changed, although I assume it was due to injury with no place for Kirk Millar, Conor Pepper or Jake Hastie in the matchday squad.

That meant a return to the starting eleven for Niall Quinn, but still 3-5-2 as Linfield have gone from no left-backs to no right-backs.

Mike Newberry was back on the bench which was welcome, even if he wasn’t fit to start.

There was also a return for Chris Johns in nets.

Not much happened in the opening minutes of the game as both teams were working their way into the game.

Ballymena offered a bicycle kick from Leroy Millar while Linfield’s response was an effort from Christy Manzinga which just wide of the post.

Hitting the ball just wide of the post wasn’t recommended at this venue with no stands or Ballboys behind the goal, meaning that Sean O’Neill would be popping off to Fairhill Shopping Centre to retrieve the ball.

Of course, not a word from the Referee.

Christy Manzinga was getting involved in personal battles with Ballymena players, who were targeting him.

It looked like Linfield might take the lead when Chris Shields got on the end of a header, but the ball went over.

Stephen Fallon went close when he got on the end of a cross but his effort went over.

Eventually, the opener came, and it was in bizarre fashion.

A free-kick from Kyle McClean evaded everybody, and ended up being put into the back of the net by a Ballymena defender. It was a most welcome gift.

If you can’t be good, be lucky.

Now that they had the lead, Linfield were looking to kill the game off.

It looked like that was going to come when Christy Manzinga was played in but his low shot was saved by Sean O’Neill.

That would prove to be Manzinga’s last involvement in the game, as he would be sent-off for tangling with and raising an arm at a Ballymena defender. No action was taken against the Ballymena player having him in a headlock.

Despite the provocation, he needs to do better and not engage in personal battles and be wound up by opposition players. Just stick the ball in the back of the net. That’ll shut them up.

As this was his second straight red card of the season, I presume that will be at least a four match ban, meaning he will miss the first Post-Split game, potentially against Cliftonville or Glentoran.

Of more immediate concern, was that Linfield were now up against it in a tricky game, having just got themselves in front.

The one consolation was, that it was close to half-time, meaning there wasn’t long for Linfield to see out and have a chance to regroup.

That wasn’t how the game went, as the final minutes of the half saw Linfield camped in Ballymena’s half, with a succession of corners that caused worry for Ballymena.

Because of the circumstances, and the importance of winning this game with the title race so tight and the two teams below playing each other, Linfield needed a big second-half. Certainly far better than the second-half at Carrick a few days earlier.

An improvement was what we got from Linfield, making the most of the ball when they had it, working themselves further and further up the pitch, and working the opportunities for themselves.

There was very few wasted passes.

If you walked into the ground at half-time, and somebody said to you “It’s 1-0 to Linfield and there’s been a red card”, you would have assumed it was for Ballymena. They couldn’t get the ball no matter how much they ran to get it.

Linfield were also making the most of their set pieces. There was a notable improvement. Though they didn’t score from one in the second-half, they were all beating their man, causing Ballymena problems and keeping the move alive.

Most importantly, Ballymena weren’t getting a sniff at the other end, reduced to speculative long range shots.

Despite that, Linfield still needed a second goal, just to be safe.

Although, they didn’t need to score, just not concede.

As well as controlling the ball when it was in play, they were controlling the ball when it was out of play, dictating the pace of the game.

By this point, the Referee decided he was going to address the matter of timewasting, having ignored it by Ballymena players in the first-half when the score was 0-0.

All we ask for is some consistency. That is all.

With just over ten minutes to go, Linfield got an opportunity to put the game beyond doubt.

Jamie Mulgrew worked space for himself out wide. His cross was blocked by a Ballymena defender. There were screams for penalty for a handball, not for me, but the ball fell for Mulgrew who charged at goal before being brought down.

Absolutely no doubt about this one, a clear penalty.

The responsibility fell to Chris Shields, who has a perfect record from penalties, which is always a worry. You fear he will miss one eventually.

This was one that could not be afforded to be missed. My pessimism was misplaced. He made no mistake to make it 2-0.

You could sense the atmosphere changing, the tension had gone, Linfield fans were now singing and rejoicing, belting out “We are top of the League” without fear of contradiction at full-time.

The job wasn’t totally done. It had only been a few weeks since Ballymena came from a similar deficit at a similar stage of the game to get a point against Cliftonville.

As Linfield continued to restrict Ballymena’s sights on goal, there was never any danger of that happening.

The performance with ten men was even more impressive due to the lack of subs. In truth, making a change would have been making a change for the sake of making a change.

Eventually, there were a few substitutions, as Linfield looked to rest a few legs due to the next game being three days away.

Special mention for Stephen Fallon, who appeared to be everywhere. Not even joking, I swear he played a fifty yard pass to himself.

Linfield were able to see the game out with no drama. This is not the time of year for drama, it’s the time of year for results, not drama.

Talking of results, elsewhere, Cliftonville beat Glentoran 1-0.

A draw would have been perfect, but as long as Linfield won, they could have taken a positive from a winner.

That positive being that they’ve extended their lead at the top from goal difference to a whopping one point, with Glentoran a further two behind.

There wasn’t much time to revel or celebrate this result, as Crusaders would be heading to Windsor Park in just three days time.

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Might as well make the most of a football free Saturday, so off to Cavehill I headed.

You will have noticed i’ve had quite a few football free Saturdays recently. I have been productive with them, just not blogging about it.

At the start of February, I headed to Scrabo Country Park for the first time. Really enjoyed it, but the photos were crap, so not worth blogging about. Definitely plan on returning soon.

A week later, I was off to Colin Glen Forest Park.

I’ve been a few times and know my way about but I managed to stumble into some parts of it i’d never been to before, which was nice.

Unfortunately, the photos were crap. Just dull. Dull weather, dull dull dull. Nothing worth getting excited or blogging about.

Then, on the last Saturday of February, a trip to Cregagh Glen.

Or so I thought. A bridge about five to ten minutes in is unpassable due to storm damage. Off home I go and go for a cycle instead.

So, I decided to head to Cavehill. It had been two months since my last visit, so it was a reasonable enough absence.

Although, when Linfield’s match against Carrick Rangers was postponed, logic pointed to it being this weekend as both clubs were out of the Irish Cup.

That would have meant my football free Saturday might not be football free, but I could make the most of it, make a day of it and head to Whitehead before the match, which would have been my first visit there since last Summer.

When the weather gets better over the coming months, I am planning on making a few return visits to Whitehead.

As much as I love Cavehill, this was a lovely bright morning that was making me yearn for Whitehead, but that’s not where I was heading as the Linfield match was played on the Friday.

With it being so bright, it was time to head out with the camera.

I always hope to get a Sunrise photo at Cavehill. Not today, my bed was too comfy.

However, I was still there early, just after 8am. You have to be in order to get a parking space.

Especially as Belfast City Council don’t have any white paint to clearly mark the bays.

Despite it being bright and sunny, it was actually a bit chilly. It did mean I actually got some use out of the tin of De-Icer I got in November.

Usual drill at Cavehill, up to the top and then back down. I nearly embarrassed myself a few times as it was a bit slippy slidey on the way down.

Thankfully, no falls but a few near misses.

Up next, was Belvoir Park Forest. Dull and wet, nothing exciting. Nothing worth blogging about. Great to be back though after about nine months away.

Towards the end of the month, Linfield will be away to Warrenpoint Town in a match that will take place on Saturday lunchtime as it has been selected for live broadcast by Sky Sports.

Obviously, i’ll have a free afternoon, so hit me up with suggestions for places to go in Warrenpoint.

I’ve also booked a trip to Edinburgh in May, my first visit there since 2019.

I usually go in August so this will be a change. I’ll be planning to take in Arthur’s Seat while i’m there. I still can’t believe I went to Edinburgh so many times before walking it.

Feel free to hit me up with suggestions for that as well. It’ll be a different city from when I usually visit.

Of course, we’re near (it might not feel like it but we are) the end of the football season and lots of free Saturdays.

Time to get the Walking Rota ready. On my list I have Cavehill, Blackmountain, Cregagh Glen, Blackhead Path, North Down Coastal Path, Belvoir Park Forest, Giant’s Ring/Minnowburn/Terrace Hill Gardens, Colin Glen Forest Park and Scrabo Country Park on my To Do List.

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Cavehill – January 2022

Cavehill – October 2021

Cavehill – July 2021

Cavehill – April 2021

Cavehill – March 2021

Cavehill – January 2021

Cavehill – November 2020

Cavehill – October 2020

Cavehill – August 2020

Cavehill – June 2020

Cavehill – February 2020

Cavehill – November 2019


Having been postponed last week, Linfield fans had to wait six days for this game.

Was it worth the wait? Well, they got three points, which is the only positive you can take from a match that was every bit as uncomfortable as the scoreline suggests.

Despite two wins from the previous two meetings this season, Linfield would have been well warned that Carrick would be difficult opponents.

The game in October was decided by a four goal blitz in ten minutes while the meeting in November was decided with a late penalty and an even later counter attack settled the game in Linfield’s favour.

And, of course, Linfield’s last visit to Taylor’s Avenue was a barely deserved 1-1 draw.

There were no Linfield fans at that game. There were no Carrick fans at it either. Such was the way things were in early 2021.

Although there was a County Antrim Shield meeting in October 2020, for most Linfield fans, this would have been their first visit to Taylor’s Avenue since March 2020.

It was a different world back then, on a day that would be the day the football stopped, without a single ball being kicked in Northern Ireland again until the Irish Cup Semi-Finals in late July 2020. Linfield weren’t involved, let’s not talk about that.

That day, I was talking to someone I hadn’t seen in a while, who told me he had just retired and was planning to use his free time going to more Linfield matches, while I walked past Rohan Ferguson, who missed the match through injury, telling a supporter that he would be fit to play against Larne the following weekend.

Nobody saw it coming.

When the postponement was announced, this was the obvious date to reschedule the game with both sides having a free weekend due to both sides being out of the Irish Cup.

Naturally, a Saturday would have been perfect seeing as this game was no longer going to be streamed.

With the weather being so good, I could have made a day of it by heading to Whitehead for a late morning stroll before the match.

Unfortunately, it would be Friday night, i’m guessing Linfield weren’t too bothered by that as they could claim it gave them a slight advantage over Ballymena United regarding their next match four days after this, with Ballymena playing on Saturday afternoon, and then into Saturday teatime with their Irish Cup tie against Larne going to extra-time and penalties.

When the game was originally scheduled, it presented Linfield with an opportunity to go three points clear at the top. With the postponement, and wins for Glentoran and Cliftonville, it meant Linfield were now trying to keep up instead of setting the pace. A win would have sent them top.

Linfield lined up 3-5-2, 3-4-3. Not for me. Maybe brought about through necessity with no left-backs, but hopefully the return of Niall Quinn will see the end of it.

Just three minutes was all it took for Linfield to take the lead when a cross from Jake Hastie was diverted into his own net by a Carrick defender.

Getting an early goal in a match like this was perfect, but it was just one minute later than the goal Shayne Lavery scored to put Linfield 1-0 up in a live Sky game at the same venue in February 2021. Linfield ended up having to settle for a barely deserved point. A warning, it it was needed.

If you were hoping for that goal would be a springboard, you would be wrong, as the ball was spending far too much time in the air in the minutes afterwards.

There was a point midway through the first-half where you realised that it actually wasn’t that great a performance, the early goal had just left a deceptive feeling that things were going great.

It looked like Linfield were going to get that second goal when Chris McKee followed up after a Kyle McClean shot was saved but he was denied by a last gasp tackle.

There was a handball appeal for Linfield (I didn’t have a good view of the incident) and there were brief celebrations when the Referee’s whistle blew after an appeal. Those celebrations were premature as it turned out he was stopping the game due to two Carrick players lying injured in the goalmouth.

Soon afterwards, it was 2-0 to Linfield, and it was Jake Hastie involved, three successive goals he has been involved in.

He worked his way into a crossing position from a short corner, the ball falling to Chris McKee after a scramble, and he backheeled it home.

McKee wasn’t being showboaty, it was all he could do on the ground with his back to goal.

It doesn’t matter how they go in, as long as they go in. Linfield now had a cushion.

A few minutes later, Christy Manzinga headed home to make it 3-0, but the joy was short lived as the offside flag went up.

If it did count, that would surely have been the game in the bag.

It looked like there would be an opportunity for a third when there was a penalty appeal after Conor Pepper tangled with Ben Tilney. I didn’t think it was to be honest. I would have happily accepted it though.

2-0 up at half-time without a vintage performance, now Linfield needed to kill the game with goal difference being so key. Glentoran won on this matchday by two goals so it was important for Linfield to at least match them.

The situation is so tight, that one big win for Glentoran against compliant opposition would blow away Linfield’s advantage in an instant. Every goal counts.

Forget about the goal difference, Linfield needed a third goal to just kill the game, ensure that there was no drama.

It looked like that was going to come when Christy Manzinga was played through on goal, but his low shot was saved by the legs of Carrick’s keeper.

A header that had to be cleared off the line by Chris Shields should have served as a warning that this game wasn’t won yet for Linfield.

It was a warning that was ignored as Jordan Gibson created space for himself and fired in off the post.

Suddenly, there was now a game on, and the last twenty minutes weren’t going to as comfortable as hoped.

You couldn’t say it wasn’t coming. Linfield were coasting, hoping to get away with doing the bare minimum.

Doing that at 2-0 was always a risk. You can get away with it at 3, 4 or 5-0 up.

In response, Linfield brought on Niall Quinn, Ethan Devine and Eetu Vertainen.

However, it was Carrick who had the last big chance of the game, an effort which hit the side netting.

Stood at the opposite end, it was enough to cause concern amongst Linfield fans.

They weren’t helping themselves. Far too often, Carrick’s defence and keeper weren’t put under pressure when on the ball, enabling then to set themselves up to launch the ball upfield.

As a result, there were quite a few scary moments for Linfield. All it needed was once bounce to fall Carrick’s way.

Thankfully, Linfield were just about able to see the game out and win 2-1.

However, it was a performance that was very concerning. They won’t get away with a similar performance in upcoming games against Ballymena United or Crusaders.

Two games that are massive. They all are at this time of year, but these two especially are.

While Linfield are at Ballymena, Glentoran and Cliftonville face each other at The Oval.

Guaranteed points droppage below Linfield that they simply have to take advantage of.

You could take a positive if there was a winner at The Oval, but Linfield simply have to win in order to be looking at what the best result is.

If they do that, they play first in the next matchday, an opportunity to put pressure on rivals before they play on Saturday.

Meanwhile, i’ve booked a weekend to Edinburgh for early May, the weekend of the Irish Cup Final, which i’ll have no interest in.

I may take in a football match there (No fixtures confirmed yet as it is post-split and Play-Offs) but it’s not specifically a football trip.

Let’s hope I go there with Linfield having another title in the bag.

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