KNOCKBREDA 1-2 LINFIELD 9.7.2022

And a pre-season win for Linfield at the third attempt, as players continued to get minutes ahead of the new season, and more pressingly, big European games, this game being sandwiched inbetween Linfield’s tie with TNS, with the Salopians winning the first leg 1-0.

For Linfield, this would be a first visit to Breda Park since 2018. It’s not the easiest to get to, especially if you were relying on Public Transport.

The ground was so middle of nowhere, there was even a cow from a nearby field watching the game.

Thankfully, there would be no pitch invasion, like when a cat ran onto the pitch at Warrenpoint in 2018.

Linfield’s starting eleven was players not involved from the start away to The New Saints.

All eleven were known to Linfield fans, no Trialists.

The bench, not so well known, made of of youngsters whose names appear regularly on Swifts Round-Ups in the club website.

Numbers on shirts caused some confusion, no names, just numbers, and not always corresponding with the regular squad numbers.

I got caught out seeing Number 6 on the pitch, being relieved that Jimmy Callacher was on the comeback trail after injury, only to realise it wasn’t him.

It was, in fact, Cameron Palmer, a welcome return from long-term injury himself.

Unsurprisingly, the early minutes of the game saw lots of Linfield pressure.

It didn’t take long for that pressure to be rewarded with a goal, a header from Jordan Stewart.

Another headed goal, he’s starting to get a reputation as an aerial threat.

That was soon followed by a finish (no pun intended) from Eetu Vertainen.

Both Stewart and Vertainen were showing their class, which bodes well for the domestic season.

Even at this early stage, it was already looking like a question of how many Linfield would score.

When the sides met in a friendly in 2018, Linfield went into an early two goal lead and the game meandered after that.

With each passing minute in the first-half, it looked like the same was going to happen here.

Andrew Clarke had an effort go wide while Chris McKee headed the ball agonisingly wide from close range when the whole ground expected him to score.

You could hear the fear in the voices of Knockbreda defenders every time Jordan Stewart got the ball, with “Stop the cross!!! Stop the cross!!!” being a favourite shout.

It wasn’t that easy to do though.

Knockbreda couldn’t get out of their half much, it was mostly Attack v Defence.

That continued into the second-half, with Connor Pepper firing an effort over the bar.

As a result, there was a frantic search for the ball as that area behind the goal is a No Man’s Land that Club Officials have access to in order to retrieve footballs.

They were helped out by a Linfield player not in the squad but watching as a Spectator, a level of class you expect from Linfield Football Club.

Just as the previous Saturday, the second-half was a non event due to the sheer volume of substitutions.

That didn’t stop Knockbreda from pulling a goal back with just under ten minutes to go.

Despite the slender lead, Linfield were able to comfortably see the game out and register a 2-1 win.

Now, it was all about TNS.

Photo Album

Knockbreda v Linfield 2018

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