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.

Photo Album

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2021-2022

So you’ve had a month by month rundown of my favourite photos of the 2021-2022 football season.

Now it’s time to vote on your favourite.

FERNANDES

Before it all went awry.

Got lucky with the position and managed to snap the kneeslide and celebrations.

My only visit to Old Trafford this season and a 5-1 win.

Probably should have went more often if that was the affect my attendance would have.

PALMER

Again, just got lucky and got a good position and was able to capture the celebrations and get some decent framing and composition.

MILLAR

I have plenty of photos of Kirk Millar and Niall Quinn taking corners.

This was one where everything just fell into place.

POINTS

Football fans aren’t slow in offering advice to actual professional footballers.

It’s the synchronised pointing that does it for me.

I think that’s where the ball actually went, but it didn’t result in a goal.

SWIFTS

Stangmore Park is a ground that is handy for getting photographs.

The contrast in the lighting and the framing of the shot does it for me.

CYPRUS

I love photos where so much is going on, and both sets of players waiting for the ball for fall from the sky so they can attack it is one such situation.

THE VACCINES – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 21.4.2021

The last time I was at The Odyssey, it was to see U2 in 2018. If you told me it would be two and a half years before I came back, and it would be to see The Vaccines supported by Doctor and the Medics, i’d be asking a lot of questions about the charts in 2019 and 2020.

I’ve actually seen The Vaccines live, not too far away at Titanic Slipways, supporting Noel Gallagher in 2016.

You should know by now that when something is announced that I want to go to, i’m usually straight on the ball to get it organised.

I can’t say I particularly wanted a jab, but needs must.

Bill Gates needs to update his microchips, i’ve had voices in my head telling me to kill Steve Jobs.

I booked myself an early morning appointment, thinking i’d avoid crowds but it was still busy. Thankfully, I could just walk right into the venue instead of having to queue outside, as I had witnessed on my teatime cycles to Airport Road.

It was very simple and efficient, walk in, register, brief pre-chat with a Doctor and then in I go.

I had a Scottish guy doing mine. I love Scottish accents, but it’s not the most reassuring then you’re about to get an injection. “Which arm ye want it in pal?” just sounds so menacing, even though it is not meant to be.

I remarked that he looked like a pop star from the 1950s, to which he replied “I’m no teenage icon, i’m no Frankie Avalon”.

Okay, that didn’t happen, but it would have been rude not to do a Vaccines joke.

Just as I was getting ready for it, it was done, and all I had to do was sit in the Seating Area, everybody maxing the use out of the free wifi on offer.

Whenever I booked my jab, I got two for the price of one, getting my date for the second jab.

Even though there is nothing on, it is still inconvenient. I’ll explain why later on.

They did say as I was leaving “If you wanna come back, it’s alright, it’s alright”.

Sorry for doing another Vaccines joke.

Thank goodness we have a vaccine, and it is being rolled out, because this country has been absolutely useless from Day 1.

This time last year, we were all “Community spirit, we’re all in this together, let’s look out for one another”. That has now been replaced with “Old people and people with medical conditions can fuck off, I want to go to the pub” because people realised this wasn’t going to be a two week holiday where you can fix things around the house.

If you want to do a job right, you have to do it the whole way through, and our society couldn’t be bothered.

Right from the start, we had people giving it Billy Big Balls, acting is if they’re the most inconvenienced person in the world.

Listening to some people, you’d think they left the house at 8am and don’t come home until 2am, because they’re so busy doing lots of outdoor things because they have such busy and interesting lives that will impress people.

In most cases, they go to work, slouch in front of the TV, and once a month their wife allows them to go to The Pub, as long as they’re home by 9pm.

We’ve all been inconvenienced, it’s not a competition.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, this country is absolutely paralysed by it’s obsession with Pubs and World War II.

Ever since Day 1, all we’ve ever heard is “When are the pubs going to reopen?” instead of “When are we getting the R Number down?”. Maybe i’m just seeing things from a different angle because I used to work in the industry? Spoiler Alert, it’s a horrible industry to work in.

“Why should I not be allowed to go to the pub because of old people?”. Well, if it’s intergenerational warfare people want, i’m taking the side of old people. I’ve never been to a concert and seen a bunch of old people that need a slap because they can’t behave themselves.

It’s not young people that are propping up this economy, it’s Ethel and Mabel buying Cliff Richard CDs, Princess Diana Dinner Plates and creating an audience for This Morning and Countdown to sell advertising revenue that is keeping this country going.

I really don’t want to be that guy, but there are too many Grifters “White Knighting” on behalf of pubs, usually with their own agendas and commercial interests. You’d think Pubs were the only industry having a tough time, but they believe they should be at the front of the queue just because.

“Reopening pubs is good for people’s health” usually means that reopening pubs will be good for my bank balance. Just come out with it, don’t hijack something else for your own agenda.

You know what is good for people’s mental health? People leaving room for others on the footpath. People not climbing each other in Supermarkets and people not ramming up each other’s arses in Supermarkets.

People already have enough to worry about without worrying if someone else’s reckless behaviour has given them Covid. Let’s maybe address that first.

Looking at you especially Joggers. There’s a group who are the absolute definition of entitlement. See people coming a mile off and still don’t leave room for people on the footpath.

All that room left for them, and they still run up against people puffing and panting, and then start screaming and shouting when challenged, or pre-emptively asked to move.

War, Famine and Racism going on, but just you get worked up and angry about being asked to show a bit of consideration towards others. Grow up Nigel.

It’s the same profile every time, usually some middle-aged gammon male with a distinct stench of “Pity about Piers Morgan, tells it as it is. Legend”.

Quite where they get the front to behave like they do, I have no idea.

You’re not in training for the Olympics, just grow up Trevor. Even if you are in training for the Olympics, just grow up Trevor.

I should point out in the interest of balance that Women Joggers are every bit as useless. They just run up beside you and carry on as if nothing happened, instead of mouthing off.

Sometimes, you have to endure the same behaviour from people out walking. See you a mile off, spread across the entire footpath and still won’t move aside for a few seconds.

Even better, why not just stand in the middle of the footpath staring at your phone? Feel free to block people from getting where they want to go.

A society where it is safer to walk on the road than on the footpath is a society that has failed.

This walk on the road, literally or metaphorically – you decide, feels like a lonely one. Am I the only person making an effort here?

Talking of Supermarkets, they have been especially useless, getting rid of one way systems because people were too stupid to understand how they work.

And as a nice bonus, Tesco have now decided to make their self service tills card only.

Has the person who made that decision ever been to Tesco?

The vast majority of people use cash, why is there not self service tills for cash?

As a result, people are having to queue for longer when they could be in and out straight away if a self service cash till was available.

Although it seems to be that some people don’t want to be in and out quickly, treating Tesco like a family day out.

Surely if you’re walking into a shop, you should know what you need to buy?

For crying out loud, don’t stand in the middle of the aisle staring at a shelf, stopping people from getting past.

I’ve even seen people standing in the middle of the aisle blocking people because they’re reading a magazine.

I saw a great post on Twitter about Anti-Maskers. It simply said “Do they think people enjoy being in Lockdown?”

That’s exactly it. I don’t enjoy Lockdown, I don’t enjoy having to keep my distance from people, but if that’s what it takes to help drive the R Number down to get “Back to normal”, that’s what i’ll do.

The main issue has been the mixed messages from Government. You can meet if this, but only if, if there are. These muddled rules are going to make people just make up their own rules, ie – just do what you want. We should either be in Lockdown or not in Lockdown. None of this phased or tiers nonsense that was only going to bring about a free for all that would take us back to Square One.

Possibly the worst example of poor message was telling people to stay at home. That was never going to work.

What should have been done was to remind people of their responsibilities when outside. Get your groceries, visit Nature Parks and Beauty Spots, but use your brain when doing so.

Not once have I ever seen a Politician use a Covid Briefing to remind people to walk on the left. It’s literally that simple and effective. That message is the one that should have been rammed home from the start. That, and maybe making an effort for once to tackle smoking, which is at epidemic levels in Belfast.

The most at risk group of getting and spreading Covid and what do we do? Scratch our collective arses and do nothing while they congregate around each other infecting themselves and others.

If Cyclists got the accommodation Smokers get, and Smokers get the vitriol Cyclists get, Belfast might be a liveable city.

Politicians like to talk about “Inclusivity” and making Belfast more “Inclusive”. A polite reminder that inclusivity is about more than flags and murals, it’s about having a city that people can fully enjoy without having to take preventative measures to enjoy outdoor living.

When Society 2.0 gets up and running, this should be high on the list of issues that need addressed.

Of course, when you see bad examples at the highest level regarding behaviour, it’s only natural that standards will slip elsewhere.

You know what i’m referring to.

The thing is, Bobby Storey’s Funeral didn’t descend Northern Ireland’s Lockdown into anarchy. By this point, we’d already verbally agreed to just to do whatever we want and not care about others. This just formally signed the paperwork.

What it meant was, that if you ever challenged anyone over their behaviour, they could instantly quote that, and you can’t say anything in response.

This country has given up on Law and Order and replaced with the rules of the Atherstone Ball Game.

As hard as it is to hear, never let your standards drop because others can get away with dropping theirs. Be better.

Trust me, it’s infuriating, but be better.

I’ll park around the corner to go to a shop because there’s no parking space available. By the time I walk there, there’ll be someone parked on a double yellow line right outside it, blocking traffic, and not getting a ticket for it, with me wondering why I bothered.

For the avoidance of doubt, if you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing because of a Political Protest, you’re an idiot, not matter how valid your cause.

If you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing in reaction to a football result, you’re an idiot.

The list is not exhaustive. If you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing, you’re an idiot.

If Belfast City Council or the Northern Ireland Assembly decide to award some sort of “Symbolic honour” to the “People of Belfast”, it will be politely rejected by me as I refuse to share an award with people who didn’t make an effort.

It should be a condition if this much rumoured voucher scheme in Northern Ireland becomes a reality, that anybody convicted of a Covid Breach should not be eligible. If you’re going to have a Reward Culture, actually reward those that did things properly.

If it results in somebody having to have an awkward conversation about why their household is not getting a voucher, that is not my problem.

Talking of empty gestures, it’s already started with the National Day Of Reflection. National Day Of Deflection more like.

Standing for a minute silence before engaging in the behaviour that spreads Covid and then kills people is an empty gesture. If it was a proper National Day Of Reflection, people would be looking in the mirror and asking themselves if they have done enough to protect themselves and others.

This Friday, pubs in Northern Ireland will reopen. Choosing a Friday going into a Bank Holiday Weekend is the dumbest thing i’ve heard.

Over the past few months, Journalists and News Outlets have been pushing a narrative that “We’re all going to go mad and let ourselves go when pubs reopen”. That attitude needs knocked on the head immedaitely.

That is going to be a green light for the biggest scumbags in our society to believe that they can behave however they want. Just watch over the next few years how many court cases will include a line from the Defence QC “My Client was feeling frustrated due to the effects of Lockdown”. Don’t be that guy.

Instead of “Going mad” and “Letting yourself go”, just pick up where you left off and enjoy yourself without being a dick.

That leads me neatly into concerts. I really hope that the next concert I go to isn’t in the first batch of the return of concerts for the above mentioned reasons.

Next on my schedule is Beabadoobee (September), followed by Paul Weller (November), Ash (December), Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott (January) and Doves (February) with Lightning Seeds still to be rearranged.

I’m hoping to add The Charlatans in November to that list. Have to be on the ball when they go on sale on Friday.

OMD might also be on the list. I have flights to Gatwick booked for July. I’m leaving it to June to make a decision on them, but it’s a very high chance i’ll move them to November and exchange a weekend in London for a few days in Brighton, sneaking in an OMD concert while i’m there.

I also have a few days in Bray booked for late June. It was supposed to be my base to try and turn up at Lansdowne Road and blag a ticket for the Euro 2021 Last 16 game there.

As you now know, Dublin has lost it’s Hosting Rights for Euro 2021, but i’ll leave it to mid June before cancelling my hotel. If there’s a possibility of a trip, especially one where no flights are needed, I might as well hold on to it as long as possible.

To add to the confusion, my second jab has been scheduled for when I should be there. I’ll be getting that date changed.

There’s another reason to get the R Number down, Man United might be playing at Windsor Park in August.

They’re going to win the UEFA Cup, but Northern Ireland will go into another Lockdown and we’ll lose the Hosting Rights. I’m already bracing myself for the disappointment. That’s what happens when you get used to this useless country letting you down time and time again.

Jonathan Van-Tam, whose stylisation of his surname I autocorrect in my head as Jonathan TV-AM, loves his football analogies to explain the situation.

When he does, I can usually give an example of a team not winning from the position he has just mentioned.

How would you describe Northern Ireland with it’s high rate of vaccine rollout? Four goals up with twenty-minutes to go?

Surely there isn’t an example of a team not winning from that position?

Turns out there is, Hibs drawing 6-6 with Motherwell in 2010. Oh for crying out loud.

2020 IN PICTURES – MARCH/APRIL

March 2020, that was an, um, interesting month.

As I turned over the calendar on the first day of the month, I had three football matches and three concerts planned, with hopefully another football match on the last day of the month where Northern Ireland would qualify for Euro 2020.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

As we all know, most of the month was spent indoors. However, I still managed some photo adventures in the first week of the month before Lockdown started.

The first day of the month saw me check out a mural of Andrew Weatherall in Belfast, before heading to The Limelight to see Blossoms in concert a few days later.

I then headed to Taylor’s Avenue on the first Saturday of the month to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers, securing a fifth successive win, looking forward to the following weekend’s match at home to Larne.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

Unsurprisingly, there was not one single photo adventure in April 2020. Not even a single photo taken.

Andrew Weatherall Mural

Andrew Weatherall Mural Photo Album

Blossoms live at The Limelight

Blossoms live at The Limelight Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

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CREGAGH GLEN

With no football to occupy me on Saturdays, i’ve been finding myself getting at one with nature. The latest adventure was somewhere I hadn’t been for a while.

On Saturday morning, I headed to Cregagh Glen in East Belfast for a stroll, somewhere where, and i’m being serious, I did Orienteering in PE at school.

That was mostly at the top end of it, my journey started at the bottom.

In the week leading up, I did a cycle to see where the good places to park were, settling on a row of shops beside Schomberg House, and then making the short walk to the entrance.

I followed the path, walking upwards and upwards. Getting photos as I went.

The weather was very dull and the photos weren’t what I hoped for. The next time I have a free morning with a lot of natural daylight, i’ll be back up to see how those photos turn out.

It was 25 minutes up, not that demanding (especially in comparison to Cavehill), reaching the end at an entrance on Manse Road. That was handy, as I needed to do a big shop and do so before the place got crowded, so a not particularly long walk was welcomed.

Definitely will spend more time whenever I next visit.

On the route, there was a crossroads where I had the option of heading in the direction of the American War Cemetery.

The name is a bit misleading, it was temporarily used as a Cemetery during the 1940s, but the bodies were all exhumed and moved elsewhere.

If I wasn’t timebound, I would definitely visit again and explore more of the place, so watch this space

I did make the right decision to return back though, as it started chucking down rain just as I got back in my car.

I’m currently monitoring things to see about going away somewhere for a trip. Obviously i’ll be giving Spain a swerve for the while.

One idea I have in my head is to head in a North-West direction and do a Donegal/Derry double header, with a trip to Binevenagh on my itinerary.

A final note, the website I use for getting photo properties is a bit up the left, all my photos are coming through on the wrong side, so I have to use my back-up website, so apologies if it’s not the usual way of appearing.

Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – NOVEMBER

November’s football watching began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers.

That was then followed by a first trip of the season to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on
Partizan Belgrade.

The following Saturday, came another football trip, but it was a relatively short one Foyleside, to get some photos of the abandoned stadium at Drumahoe, and then Linfield’s match against
Institute.

After that, it was a dash back to Belfast on the 212 to see Northern Ireland play Holland in aEuropean Championship Qualifer.

The month ended with Linfield’s matches against Glenavon and Larne.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade Photo Album

Drumahoe

Drumahoe Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Holland

Northern Ireland v Holland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Larne