If Linfield were having a poor run of results, it was nothing compared to Portadown’s current run of form.

Portadown were still looking for their first win of the season, just as they were when they met Linfield on the Opening Day.

In fact, they had only secured one point since then.

Stats like that would make Linfield fans nervous. Nobody wants to be the team on the receiving end when Portadown get their first win of the season. Linfield simply couldn’t afford to let that be the case.

A win on the Opening Day put Linfield top of the table. Their ambitions this time were more modest, to try and break through the Top 6.

It was Portadown who had the first chance of the game when Jamie Mulgrew got caught in possession trying to clear the ball, and Billy Steadman went just wide with his effort.

Linfield’s main response was a bit of pinball in the box where a series of shots were continuously blocked by Portadown defenders.

When you are sat behind the goal at the opposite end it is very easy to prematurely celebrate what you think is a goal. That is what happened when Joel Cooper hit a shot just wide, with Linfield fans thinking he had scored when they saw the ball rolling behind the net.

Portadown were giving every bit as good as they were getting, with Chris Johns having to tip over a cross/shot that was threatening to sneak in.

Linfield’s only other attacking moment of note in the first-half was a Robbie McDaid diving header from a corner that was easily saved.

The first-half was a tough watch. Linfield only had a handful of attacking moments, and Portadown were comfortable.

This was a team who were bottom of the table and had just come off a 4-0 defeat. We should have been making life uncomfortable for them from the very start. Linfield had to do so much better.

Kirk Millar went off injured at half-time, and was replaced by Eetu Vertainen.

Even though it was an enforced change. It was one that worked for Linfield, they were already showing more of an attacking threat in the opening minutes of the second-half, not that the bar was high.

If only the bar was high when the ball fell to Jimmy Callacher at a corner, as he blazed the ball over. It was a big chance.

Despite that, this chance perked up Linfield’s support.

No matter how bad they are playing, or who they are playing, there is something special when Linfield are attacking a goal their fans are based behind.

One thing that Linfield couldn’t afford to do was go 1-0 down. They simply couldn’t give Portadown something to hold onto.

That almost happened when Stephen Teggart fired towards goal, his effort had to be turned around by Chris Johns.

Linfield’s approach was to give the ball to Joel Cooper, Fair enough, he makes things happen.

For the first time in the game, you felt like a goal for Linfield was only a matter of time.

It looked like Cooper was going to set up the opening goal of the game for Linfield when he played in Andrew Clarke, but the angle was too tight for him to finish.

There wasn’t long to wait for a Cooper assist, when he pulled the ball back from the byline for Sam Roscoe to knee the ball in to make it 1-0.

You’ll take a goal by any means.

Linfield now had the goal to go with their dominance, it was time to kick on.

They were given a reminded that this game was not won when Portadown hit the post with a long range shot a few minutes later.

Portadown couldn’t find a way to stop Joel Cooper.

When he is unstoppable, things happen for Linfield. That’s why they always try to give him the ball.

It wasn’t until the final minutes of the game that he got his reward, when another cross from the right was headed home from close range by Robbie McDaid. That was the points officially in the bag for Linfield.

There was no doubt as to who the Man Of The Match was. It was a landslide decision.

Given how lazily these awards are handed out to goalscorers, the fact a player on a winning team who hadn’t scored was winning it so comfortably said how good he was.

The goal we all wanted to see came in stoppage time when he was played through by Jamie Mulgrew and smashed it into the roof of the net, before lapping up some well deserved adulation.

It was a tough watch in the first-half, but a lot better in the second. It simply had to be.

More of that second-half performance and less like the first-half please.

Onto Cliftonville at home on Tuesday night.

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One thought on “PORTADOWN 0-3 LINFIELD 5.11.2022

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

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