As the teams were in the tunnel getting ready to head onto the pitch, the tannoy at Windsor Park began playing Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie.
Of all the songs by Queen, this was a rather unfortunate, or perhaps appropriate, as that is what Linfield were feeling after one point and no goals from games against Coleraine and Glentoran.
I would rather Linfield’s plight be soundtracked by Don’t Stop Me Now.
In truth, there are a number of Queen songs that could have soundtracked this match.
With Linfield needing to win some of their games in hand, it looked like being a case of Another One Bites The Dust when Glenavon went 2-1 up, with David Healy probably thinking It’s A Hard Life as his side were struggling to make a Breakthru, as it looked like they were heading Headlong into the abyss.
Then came The Miracle, as Eetu Vertainen produced A Kind Of Magic than reminded people why We Are The Champions.
Too many dropped points and not enough games played to try and make up the gap means that, even at this early stage, Linfield simply cannot afford to drop any points whatsoever.
The starting eleven brought an end to 4-5-1 and a return to 4-4-2.
You could see straight away that Linfield were offering more of an attacking threat and had bodies going forward.
They almost had a dream start when Matthew Clarke headed wide from a cross in the opening minutes. He probably should have scored.
Glenavon weren’t exactly afraid to have a go, Calum Birney heading against the post from a set piece.
You could tell there would be goals in this game.
Robbie McDaid was next to be frustrated when his shot from a wide angle agonisingly went across the six yard box but not into the net.
Eventually the goal did come for Linfield, when Kirk Millar controlled with his right foot and finished with his left.
This was a night when Linfield simply had to get the first goal.
A team with brittle confidence, it could easily have been destroyed if they went 1-0 down.
Although, the way that Glenavon had been having a go, this game was far from over. They needed at least a two, possibly three goal lead before they could become comfortable.
There wasn’t quite the onslaught you would hope that goal would bring. You didn’t feel that a second goal was imminent.
Robbie McDaid had a curling shot easily saved while Jimmy Callacher hit the post stretching at a set piece from a wide angle.
After a bright early start, Linfield’s attacking intensity had dropped, there were no clear chances created.
Despite that, they looked set to go in at half-time 1-0 up. A decent foundation to work from.
Nope. It was too good to be true.
As the half entered it’s final moments, Glenavon equalised when a low cross found an unmarked Matthew Fitzpatrick to jink past Sam Roscoe to finish from close range.
It was such a poor goal to concede, Linfield’s defence all over the place.
This was always a danger having not killed the game off when they went 1-0 up.
The second-half meandered and drifted. It was hard to see where Linfield were going to get a goal from. Suddenly, they were going to need two goals.
An uncontested drop ball after an injury to a Linfield player (the ball had went out for a Glenavon throw) was played back into the box and headed home by Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Despite the need for a goal, there never looked like being a goal for Linfield.
Then, out of the blue, a goal for Linfield when Joel Cooper finished low from the edge of the box.
Even though Linfield had come back to life, the expected onslaught failed to materialise.
In fact, it was Jimmy Callacher who had to make a block to deny Robert Garrett from scoring.
Then, on 87 minutes, Eetu Vertainen was unmarked at a corner and controlled and smashed the ball into the net to put Linfield 3-2 up.
It was a much needed goal.
There was a sense of irony that the goal came from an outswinging corner from Joel Cooper.
If Kirk Millar hadn’t been substituted, he probably would have taken an inswinging corner.
Although, Vertainen was in so much space, he probably would have scored if it was an inswinging corner.
The quality of Linfield’s set pieces is something that really annoys me.
Every time it is an inswinger, no variation.
Teams can defend that in their sleep. Mix and match, do something different when the same thing doesn’t work time and time again.
Even with so little time remaining, it still didn’t guarantee the three points. Not the way this game had gone.
Thankfully, Linfield were able to see the game out, getting a much needed three points.
The result was there but the performance wasn’t.
As good as Glenavon played, they were encouraged to do so by Linfield’s performance.
But the important thing is getting results, just keep getting them to see your way through this sticky period.
The performances would need to improve quickly though, with Larne due at Windsor Park next.
Pingback: 2022 IN PCITRES – OCTOBER | Analogue Boy In A Digital World