LINFIELD 2-4 LARNE 22.10.2022

Four was the number of the day in the Irish League with four different teams scoring four goals. Unfortunately, one of them was Linfield’s opponents.

Poor results in recent weeks have meant that Linfield are already in a position where they can’t afford to drop any more points.

After playing two up front against Glenavon in midweek, there was a return to 4-5-1, but a start for Cameron Palmer after a brief but impressive cameo against Glenavon in midweek.

Hopefully, this whole winning the ball back and starting attacks thing will catch on.

Sat in position for the start of the game, suddenly the Referee indicated for a change in ends.

That necessitated me having to move as I like to be based where Linfield are attacking.

I’m not built for running. I’m full of chocolate. No goals in the opening minute please.

Having made my way to the other end of the South Stand, and found a seat, I was seated just in time to see Larne win a penalty.

As with some of the other goals conceded in the previous eight days, it was a shocker.

Kirk Millar miscontrolled a crossfield pass, slipped, and bundled a Larne player over when trying to win the ball back, resulting in a penalty.

As the ball was in the air, I was thinking to myself for him not to head it back to the keeper. I wish he had in the end.

Such is Linfield’s situation, it’s almost as if they are trying too hard, going in for challenges they don’t need to make if they lose the ball.

As soon as the penalty was awarded, there was an inevitability that it would be scored, no jeering to try and put off the kicker. You just knew what was going to happen.

Ben Doherty out the ball into the back of the net.

The body language of Linfield’s players as they looked to restart the game suggested this game was already being written off, that everything that could go wrong was going wrong and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Before Linfield could even assess the situation, it got worse.

A quick counter attack saw Paul O’Neill finish from close range to make it 2-0.

To use a car analogy (I actually know nothing about cars, other than how to drive one), Larne players were attacking at a higher gear than Linfield players were trying to get back.

It was one of those, you know that a goal is coming before the ball is played into the box.

This game was already looking over before it had even begun.

You were wondering if, six minutes into the game, was it too early to make a substitution?

Shellshocked, there was no immediate response from Linfield. There was no real attacking threat or even any energy to their attacks.

Eventually, Linfield started to get further forward.

Cameron Palmer got on the end of a cross, but the big one fell to Chris Shields when a clearance from a corner was played back in, he found himself a few yards out, but his stretched effort ended up in Rohan Ferguson’s hands.

At that moment, if it wasn’t already obvious, there was only one direction this afternoon was going.

If he scores, Windsor Park will start to believe that a memorable comeback is one. At that point, they knew it wasn’t.

In a game where Linfield had created so few chances, clear or half, they simply had to take them when they came their way.

Having survived a scare when defending a corner, Linfield managed to claw their way back into the game as the half neared it’s end.

A cross from Kirk Millar was neatly finished by Cameron Palmer to give Linfield some much needed hope.

Millar had been having a shocking afternoon so far, but he usually comes up with an assist when it’s needed.

Suddenly, Larne were the team desperate for half-time.

There wasn’t a Linfield onslaught in the final minutes to try and get an equaliser to go in at half-time level and negate the poor start to the game.

In the opening minutes, it looked like it was going to go the same way as the United v Liverpool game last season.

1-2 was certainly better than 0-2, and definitely better than 0-4.

Linfield now had hope of getting something from this game, The mood at Windsor Park had now changed. A big fifteen minutes awaited, without a single ball being kicked.

The early minutes of the second-half was all Linfield, as they looked to kick on from Palmer’s goal.

Kirk Millar had a shot go just past the post, before Eetu Vertainen dragged a shot well wide when he should have made the keeper work.

The best moment that Linfield had during this spell of pressure was a shot from Joel Cooper that hit the top of the crossbar.

A goal for Linfield, and there is only one team winning this game.

The big question to ask though, where was this performance at the start of the game?

Having been brutally clinical in the opening minutes of the game, Larne repeated the trick in the second-half, making it 3-1 with their first attack of note, when Lee Bonis got on the end of a cross.

Quite literally a case of cometh the hour for Larne, with the clock just about to hit 60:00 as the ball hit the back of the net.

You would have thought that their start to the second-half would have given Linfield hope that they could get at Larne and get a goal to get back into the game, but once again the heads went down, too accepting that it wasn’t to be their day.

Any doubt as to where the points were going was soon removed when Leroy Millar made it 4-1 to Larne.

Even at this early stage, this season is in danger of turning into a repeat of 2017-2018.

Back then, it was defeats in September/October in quick succession to Cliftonville, Coleraine and Crusaders that killed off any title defence before the clocks went back.

This match, was already looking like a repeat of that 5-2 defeat to Crusaders in so many ways.

With five minutes to go, Ethan Devine pulled a goal back from a free-kick. He kept that skill quiet. It was most welcome to discover that he had it.

There was still five minutes to go. That might not sound like a lot, but it is still enough time to score two goals. Larne managed it in the same timeframe in the first-half.

Once again, the body language of Linfield’s players suggested that this day was a write-off.

The goal wasn’t the start of a comeback, but a consolation goal that made the scoreline less bad than it was.

A draw from this position was always going to be a tough ask, but you have to believe in it no matter how the game had gone previously.

One quick goal, and there was still time for another.

It was wishful thinking.

No goals, no incidents of note in the time that remained, Larne were able to easily secure the three points.

Linfield’s stop-start season hits another bump.

A team lacking in confidence and belief, too focused on stopping the opposition and offering very little attacking threat in retaliation, and wilting when things go wrong.

Everything than can go wrong is going wrong at the moment, but they’re not helping themselves.

As fans (well, those who stayed until the final whistle) headed for the exits, the tannoy started playing some James.

I love a bit of James, great band. The song of choice was Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)

This performance was all messed up, and they didn’t get away with it.

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One thought on “LINFIELD 2-4 LARNE 22.10.2022

  1. Pingback: 2022 IN PCITRES – OCTOBER | Analogue Boy In A Digital World

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