LINFIELD 2-1 GLENAVON 12.11.2022

When you need three points, it doesn’t matter how you get them. For the second time in a matter of weeks, Linfield got them against Glenavon. Just about.

Points dropped and inactivity due to cup competitions meant that Linfield were up against it in the title race. They had only just got back into the Top 6.

It’s a long way up to the top, but there was an opening for Linfield.

The previous evening, Coleraine and Glentoran entertained BBC Two viewers with a 0-0 draw.

That meant, that if Linfield could win this game, they would pull three points clear of Coleraine into the dizzy heights of 5th, and make up three points on Glentoran over two matchdays, and to put a bit of pressure on Crusaders ahead of their Monday night game.

Small steps, but you still have to take them if you want to get to where you are going.

A new face in the Linfield starting eleven in the shape of the lesser seen Chris McKee, but he was still part of a one up front, with Robbie McDaid pushed out wide.

Despite that, it was a lot better from Linfield in the early minutes as an attacking force, but it was Glenavon who had the first shot on goal, held by Chris Johns at the second attempt, lucky that there was nobody in the vicinity following up.

Eventually, Linfield cut Glenavon open, with Robbie McDaid stretching to get on the end of a Matthew Clarke cross but was denied at close range by Glenavon’s keeper making himself big.

Joel Cooper then shot just over as Linfield searched for an early goal to calm the nerves.

When every game is a must-win, you feel you need to get in front as soon as possible.

Linfield’s task got a lot harder when Joel Cooper had to go off injured.

There was a theme to recent games that if he doesn’t play well, Linfield don’t play well. When he is playing well, you feel a goal for Linfield is only a matter of time.

Luckily, Kirk Millar was back on the bench after his own injury to come on. With Jordan Stewart still injured, Linfield could really do without three creators sitting injured.

Linfield continued to attack at a slow and pedestrian pace, only really picking up the speed as the half neared it’s end.

Once again, it was another poor first-half display. The stats are quite interesting, with only one first-half lead (1-0 v Newry) in the League in six games, and no two goal lead since Ballymena in September.

I’m not sure if there’s much to read into that, but you don’t seem to expect Linfield to have a game wrapped up with time to spare these days.

There was a brief upturn in attacking performance in the opening minutes, the best moment was a Cameron Palmer effort that looked like it was going in but just swerved wide at the vital moment.

Chris McKee was played through but was denied by a block which turned the ball out for a corner as Linfield looked to get the breakthrough. This was much better from Linfield.

Sam Roscoe and Chris McKee were then denied after a scramble. The ball would just not go in.

Of course, we all knew what was around the corner with each missed chance.

And it happened, when a long range shot from Micheal Glynn put Glenavon 1-0 up.

In response, Eetu Vertainen came on from the bench.

The equaliser, when it came, came from a surprise source, with Daniel Finlayson finishing from close range after a Jimmy Callcher across the box from a free-kick.

His first competitive goal for Linfield (He did score against St Mirren in a pre-season friendly) and it was most welcome. There was still nearly half an hour to play.

Andrew Clarke had Linfield’s next big chance. but his well struck shot from a Robbie McDaid pullback was well saved.

McDaid set up Linfield’s next big chance, and it was a big chance, when he crossed for Eetu Vertainen a few yards out.

He got the power on it but not the direction, and the ball went wide. He should have scored. It was looking like one of those days.

Andrew Clarke was through but fired over as Danny Wallace charge towards him to make a block. Another golden opportunity wasted.

In a strange way, at that point you knew that Linfield were going to win the game.

There was no way they were going to create and miss this many chances and not get the points.

Yes, it does sound strange, but if you were at the game, you will know exactly what I mean.

Surely they would get at least one more big chance before the final whistle.

Having created chances for others to miss, Robbie McDaid decided to create a chance for himself.

Out of nothing, he fired home from just outside the box to put Linfield 2-1 up.

McDaid now getting the goals his performances deserved.

Big ones as well. An opener in a tricky trip to Newry, clincher at Portadown and now this to put Linfield 2-1 up on an afternoon where it all threatened to go wrong.

The points were far from won, there was still just under ten minutes to play, plus a bit of injury time due to Glenavon’s timewasting at throw-ins and free-kicks.

When Linfield are chasing the game, the right amount of injury time never seems to be played.

Having arsed about at stoppages at 0-0, 0-1 and 1-1, Glenavon were suddenly in a hurry.

Their keeper was even coming up for corners before the clock hit 90. That’s how impatient they were.

Considering how the afternoon had went so far, you were expecting him to head in an equaliser.

Thankfully not, as Linfield held on for the win that puts them clear in 5th.

Not exactly where they wanted to be, but small steps in the right direction.

They’ll have to put in better performances if they want to make bigger steps in the right direction.

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One thought on “LINFIELD 2-1 GLENAVON 12.11.2022

  1. Pingback: 2022 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

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