COLERAINE 1-0 LINFIELD 26.10.2019

All season, Linfield have been trying to climb to the top of the Irish League table. For most of the season, the peak seemed a long way off. Gradually, win by win, the gap has got close and closer.

Tuesday night’s win over Warrenpoint Town put Linfield only two points off the top of the table, the closest they have been since August.

Just as against Crusaders at the start of October, as soon as Linfeld looked to cut the gap, the gap got bigger.

Games in hand mean Linfield still have the title destiny in their own hands, but another poor result in a big domestic game remains a sense of frustration.

For me, this was my first trip to Coleraine by train, with the ground being a short walk from the station …. or so I thought.

A few observations. I find it absolutely incredible in this day and age that Great Victoria Street doesn’t have self service ticket machines. It is also a very poorly designed train station. Want to know what I mean? Try and walk to the platform after a train has just arrived.

Hopefully, the planned Belfast Transport Hub will address this.

I got off at Central, and the newly built retail units are still empty, which is a bit embarrassing.

Getting off at Coleraine, there was a wait to walk to the ground as the road was closed as it is a Level Crossing and we needed to wait for the train to leave the station. Although, on the way back, I did notice a shortcut from the station to the ground, which i’ll make use of in future.

From there, we were then made to walk the long way around through an industrial estate. This delay meant I missed the opening minute of the game.

I got in just in time to see Ben Doherty have a shot saved by Rohan Ferguson. Even if it did go in, it still would have been a better start for Linfield than when the sides met in August, going 1-0 down after 13 seconds.

There were two changes for Linfield with Niall Quinn and Mark Stafford coming in for Matthew Clarke and Ross Larkin, harsh on both players who did well on Tuesday.

Aaron Traynor then had a shot over the bar as Coleraine continued the pressure. Traynor would then be later denied by two Linfield players charging at him to block a shot and make the goal smaller, similar to when Andrew Burns was forced to hit his shot into the side netting last week.

Linfield’s response was a shot by Bastien Hery which hit the post. Encouraged by this, Hery had a later shot from a similar range which was easily held by Chris Johns.

Eoin Bradley then got in behind Jimmy Callacher but his shot was saved by Rohan Ferguson.

Having got in at half-time 0-0, Linfield would have to improve in the second-half.

Wherever they play, if Linfield are attacking where their own fans, they always have a chance.

Linfield were brighter as an attacking force, but still not troubling Coleraine. Coleraine’s attacks were much more believable.

After managing to frustrate Coleraine, Linfield almost gifted Coleraine a goal, when Rohan Ferguson was caught in possession, but managed to put pressure on Eoin Bradley and make the goal smaller, making the save when Bradley tried to score from a wide angle.

In search of a goal, Linfield brought on Jordan Stewart and Andrew Waterworth for Joel Cooper and Shayne Lavery.

However, it a game that looked like it was meandering to a 0-0 draw, it was Coleraine who got the breakthrough with ten minutes to go when Mark Stafford headed the ball into his own net when trying to clear the ball.

To make it worse, the goal came from a cheaply conceded corner.

It’s the second successive week where Linfield have conceded from Rohan Ferguson not being assertive enough.

When the ball comes in, just get it. If there are bodies in the road, just get it. If one of your own players is in the road, just go and get the ball. Hopefully, he’ll work on it.

It was a poor goal to concede on so many levels, in terms of time of the game, importance and the quality of the goal.

Linfield responded by bringing on Matthew Shevlin for Bastien Hery, as they attacked a goal where the Ballboys had mysteriously disappeared, being stood down, their work for the day was done.

Naturally, given the situation, Linfield had more of the ball, but never really did enough with it, all they could offer was a Jimmy Callacher header and a hooked Matthew Shevlin effort that didn’t force Chris Johns into a save.

Coleraine held out for the win, increasing their lead over Linfield to five points, and giving them a three point lead over Crusaders, although Crusaders could have overtaken them with a large win over Glenavon in a 5pm kick-off. They drew 2-2, which made this result even more frustrating.

Linfield’s two games in hand mean that if they win them, they will go top.

Trips to Ballymena and Larne won’t be easy, but they are mid table teams, we should be believing we will beat them if we want to win the League, especially as Coleraine and Crusaders are yet to beat them.

The table is now starting to take shape.

Carrick Rangers, Institute and Warrenpoint Town are now marooned as the bottom three.

It’s hard to assess Glenavon. Presently, they are in a relegation fight, but if they win their two games in hand (or even get four points), they will join Dungannon Swifts, Ballymena United and Larne in the race for 6th.

The top five are starting to pull away from the rest.

Despite one point from four games against the sides above them, Glentoran are only six points off the top. You have to count them in the title race. If they had beaten Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts in August, they’d only be one point off the top

Like Cliftonville, currently one point off the top, i’d expect them to be a bit further back by the time everybody plays each other twice.

It is interesting to note that Crusaders have gone four games without a win. If that was Linfield, it would be front page news.

Crusaders also concede goals. 4 x Coleraine, 2 v Coleraine, 2 v Glentoran and 2 v Glenavon twice.

It makes our failure to score against them this season even more frustrating.

It’s Coleraine that Linfield really have to worry about.

Their doing better than expected as I thought it might take a season to get back on track after their 2017-2018 team was decimated.

Three defeats out of three to Coleraine and Crusaders is a concern, especially the manner, a lack of creativity after falling behind to bad goals each time. In games of fine margins, we have to make everything count.

One positive is that Oran Kearney will win Manager Of The Month, which will jinx him.

If it does, we have to take advantage. Thankfully, we’ve got a generous run of games coming up in November.

Photo Album

LINFIELD 2-4 COLERAINE 17.8.2019

When you’re playing The Limelight days before you headline Glastonbury, the rules are the same, you have to perform no matter where you are playing.

This was more drunken karaoke down the pub than Queen at Live Aid.

The first 13 seconds were awful. The remaining 89 minutes and 47 seconds weren’t much better.

Coleraine kicked off and were straight on the attack, a long ball seeing Ben Doherty get clear of Jimmy Callacher and run towards goal. I was sat at the opposite end and could see that he was setting himself up to shoot on his left foot.

However, the three defenders around him couldn’t see it, backing off and giving him to shoot and put Coleraine 1-0 up.

At least there was still plenty of time to put it right.

Amazingly, it wasn’t the earliest goal I’ve seen Linfield concede, with Gary McCutcheon scoring in 12 seconds in 2013.

The response from Linfield? There wasn’t really one. A lot of build-up play but no final ball.

Coleraine were well organised, so Linfield needed to do something special to break them down. It just wasn’t happening for them.

Midway through the first-half, things got worse when Coleraine went 2-0 up from a corner.

I was at the other end and thought it went straight in. It was much worse than that.

There were no Coleraine players attacking the ball, Ryan McGiven headed the ball into his own net from a few yards out, beating Daniel Kearns to the ball just as he was about to clear it.

Surely McGivern would have seen Kearns and let him clear it? Running to head the ball away when facing your own goal always has a risk, he should have let Kearns take control of the situation.

As with the first goal, there was still time to put it right, but they didn’t look like doing so.

They did have history to look back on for recent inspiration, with Linfield coming from behind to draw and win against Coleraine in recent years, as well as Coleraine throwing away 1-0 and 2-0 leads to draw against Cliftonville and Glentoran in the opening week of the season.

All that Linfield could offer in response was a speculative long range shot from Jamie Mulgrew.

Towards the end of the half, Linfield had their best moments of the game, all being relative. A lot of possession and situations but very few chances. The only moment of concern for Coleraine was a shot from Joel Cooper which deflected into the side netting.

Even if Linfield had pulled it back to 2-1 during those final minutes, it wouldn’t and shouldn’t have changed the half-time team talk.

The response at the start of the second-half wasn’t quick in coming, and David Healy wasn’t prepared to wait for it, bringing on Kirk Millar for Jordan Stewart just three minutes into the half, after Stewart lost an aerial tussle he was favourite to win.

Just before the hour, Matthew Clarke made way for Shayne Lavery, with Linfield now going to three at the back.

Within a few minutes, the ball hit the back of the net, and it was Coleraine who got it when Stephen O’Donnell headed home from a free-kick.

Again, it was poor defending from Linfield, as Ryan McGivern switched off to give O’Donnell a free header when he was favourite to clear it.

Having already blown 1-0 and 2-0 leads this season, there was no way that Coleraine were going to blow a 3-0 lead.

The irony is, if McGivern attacked the ball as he did for Coleraine’s 2nd, he would have cleared it. And of course, if he left the ball for Coleraine’s 2nd as he did for their 3rd, Daniel Kearns would have cleared it.

Linfield responded with a Kirk Millar effort that was saved, before a teed up Joel Cooper free-kick went low into the back of the net to make it 3-1.

The goal wasn’t celebrated as a consolation strike, it was celebrated as the start of a comeback, there was time left to come back.

The crowd were further geed up by the introduction of Bastien Hery before the game restarted.

Then, a header from Shayne Lavery made it 3-2 and an unlikely comeback looked on.

Within minutes, those hopes were dashed when Ryan McGivern got a second yellow card as Eoin Bradley headed towards goal. All he needed was to have missed a penalty to get a full set.

The resulting reshuffle saw Kirk Millar have to go into a full-back position to cover the defence, and blunted Linfield as an attacking force.

Even though there was only one goal in it, the red card and reshuffle killed all of Linfield’s momentum.

There was time for one more goal in this game. Kirk Millar, usually reliable for an assist set up a goal in injury time. Unfortunately, it was for Coleraine, as his stray backpass was seized upon by Emmett McGuckin who rounded Rohan Ferguson and toepoked the ball into the open net before Ferguson could chase after him.

McGuckin was only brought on minutes earlier as a substitute to see the game out.

It summed up Linfield’s day as Windsor Park began to empty as soon as the ball hit the back of the net. Those that stayed saw Joel Cooper have a header saved.

Curiously, the last time August 17th fell on a Saturday, Linfield lost 4-2 at home, this time to Cliftonville. You will be glad to hear that August 17th won’t be a Saturday until 2024. Feel free to start making alternative plans for that day.

What went wrong for Linfield? Everything.

The fightback was too little, too late. You can’t turn up 60 minutes into the game. You can’t even relax for the first 14 seconds, you have to be on it straight from kick-off.

You could argue that the changes to the started line-up disrupted Linfield’s momentum. It wasn’t Swifts players being brought it, it was players such as Cooper, Kearns, Callacher and Waterworth, who were all regular starters when the team picked itself at the start of last season.

We can’t really use Tuesday night’s exertions as an excuse, as there were ten top flight teams in action on Tuesday night, one of those being Coleraine.

As disappointing as this performance and result was, it’s important to keep a sense of perspective and not to panic. If we win our game in hand, we’ll only be three points off the top.

With no game next weekend, and the following weekend’s game pushed back to the Monday night, we could be in the relegation zone by the time we next play a League match.

That would be a hilarious juxtaposition if we were in the groups stages by the time we play at Larne.

It would not be hilarious if we were still in the relegation zone by the end of September though, just for clarity.

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney stated when being interviewed on the BBC after the game that the game was postponed, even though his side got the three points.

I’ll have to disagree with him on that. I can understand postponing the Warrenpoint game, as disappointing as it is, as it is such an exceptional situation.

In terms of fixture scheduling, things are manageable and there is no need to panic, but we can’t let things build up.

If we get through to the group stages, playing League matches on the Sunday after will have to be looked at seriously, as we can’t let the outstanding games pile up.

Whilst we may have games in hand, other clubs will have points in the bag, which is far more preferable.

Next week’s fixture list sees two matches between teams with top six ambtions – Crusaders v Larne and Ballymena United v Glentoran which will hopefully see points droppage that we can take advantage of when we return to League action.

I’m hoping that this performance was purely to lure any Azeri spies into a false sense of security ahead of Thursday night’s game.

Qarabag have recent European pedigree. They know how to reach the groups stages of competitions, mostly the UEFA Cup, though they haven’t got past the group stage or looked like doing so.

A win against Anderlecht and draws with Saint Etienne (twice), Inter Milan, Monaco and Atletico Madrid (twice) in recent years commands respect, but not fear.

The second leg will be played at Azerbaijan’s national stadium, Tofiq Brhramov Stadium.

It’s a stadium that has evaded David Healy in his career. He was suspended when Northern Ireland played there in 2004. By the time they returned in 2017, he was retired from playing.

Hopefully, by the time he eventually gets there on Thursday week, it will be worth the wait.

Photo Album

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2018-2019

2018-2019 is now over and consigned to history. I hope you’ve enjoyed my month by month look back. I thought i’ll end with a look through some of my favourites. Feel free to vote for yours.

NEWFORGE

Taken during a Pre-Season Friendly, I like arty farty shots in the style of Stuart Roy Clarke, so I unashamedly try to copy him.

MOURNEVIEW

I like this shot because of the way everybody is lined up, and how everybody has their eyes fixed on Kirk Millar, being the man in possession

COLERAINE

This shot came about by fluke, I was hoping to capture a Linfield goal, but again, it’s the fans who make the picture for me, all heads in the one direction.

DUNGANNON

Got some good photos this day due to generous Winter Sun. Dungannon is always good for photos. I like the framing, getting the terraces in alongside the pitch.

JORDAN

Jordan Stewart makes it 4-0 against Crusaders in December. I like being able to capture the celebrations on the pitch and in the stand. Even a Steward joined in.

CLANDEBOYE

That spot at Clandeboye Park is handy for getting photos, as long as something interesting happens at that end during the game. Thankfully, Linfield scored while I was at this end. Not just in terms of phototaking, but the match, as it was looking like a frustrating afternoon against opponents who had already proved tricky earlier in the season.

SNOW TRAFFORD

Having got snow photos of Windsor Park in 2010, I couldn’t believe my luck when Manchester was hit with snow the day after United’s match against Burnley. Staying close to the ground, I was straight out with my camera to get photos.

McCLEAN

An explosion of emotion. 2-0 down and looking to be pegged back in the title race, to 2-2 and being frustrated, then a last minute winner, I managed to capture the reactions, of fans and players both going wild in unison.

RAIN

A weather based photo that just works. Bleurgh, an awful night for weather and football.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : FEBRUARY

February’s football watching was spent at Windsor Park, where I spent every Saturday of the month.

It began with Linfield exiting the Irish Cup to Crusaders, then come from 2-0 down to beat Coleraine with a last minute winner, beat Ballymena United to win the NIFL Cup, and then beat them again in the League.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield secure a late and dramatic 1-0 win.

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Ballymena United (NIFL Cup)

NIFL Cup Final Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United (League)

Newry City v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November 2018’s football watching began with a trip to Windsor Park with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield scrape a late draw at home to Warrenpoint Town.

It didn’t get much better the following Saturday, as I headed back to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Coleraine.

The weekend after, was a double header, the first of which was a first trip to The Brandywell, to see Linfield take on Institute. The next day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Austria in the UEFA Nations League.

The following weekend, it was yet another trip to Windsor Park, but finally a home win, as an Andrew Waterworth hat-trick saw off Cliftonville.

My football watching for the month ended with a midweek trip to Old Trafford to see Manchester United take on BSC Young Boys in the European Cup, my first visit to Old Trafford of the season.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield v Coleraine

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Austria

Northern Ireland v Austria Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : SEPTEMBER

I didn’t have to wait long for some football action in September, with Linfield taking on Ards on the first day of the month. I would have to wait a while for a first goal of the month, as that match finished 0-0.

The goals flew in during my next match, as Linfield beat Warrenpoint 5-0, before taking in Northern Ireland’s first ever UEFA Nations League match, a 2-1 home defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The month ended taking in three further Linfield matches, home wins against Dungannon Swifts and Ballymena United, as well as a draw at Coleraine.

Linfield v Ards

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Coleraine v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

LINFIELD 3-2 COLERAINE 9.2.2019

After exiting the Irish Cup last weekend, it was important for Linfield to bounce back as quickly as possible. The weather denied them the opportunity to do it in the County Antrim Shield Final on Tuesday, which meant they had to wait seven days. As a quirk, they would be facing a side they had a score to settle with, as Coleraine were the only team Linfield had yet to beat this season.

The postponement of the County Antrim Shield Final can be looked two ways. As a positive, it gave Linfield players a free midweek to recover from that cup tie, the final minutes saw Niall Quinn struggling to move while Jordan Stewart watched the final minutes from the bench with an ice pack strapped to him. As a negative, an opportunity to put Crusaders back in their place and get a trophy in the cabinet was delayed.

While Linfield and Crusaders were putting their feet up on Tuesday night, Coleraine were winning a rearranged League game at Dungannon to move them up to 4th, their highest position since the early months of the season.

After a slow start under new manager Rodney McAree, Coleraine had experienced an upturn in form in recent weeks, with only one defeat in their last ten matches. After going so close to the title last season, Coleraine’s struggles this season will have been seen as a shock by many, or maybe not, having been a victim of their own success by losing four key players to clubs on the Mainland, with Darren McCauley (Inverness Caledonian Thistle) joining Martin Smith (Swindon Town), Stephen Dooley (Rochdale) and Brad Lyons (Blackburn Rovers) in professional football, as well as losing manager Oran Kearney to St Mirren.

Linfield made a few changes to their starting eleven, with Marek Cervenko, Andrew Waterworth and Kirk Millar coming into the side.

Coleraine had the better of the opening minutes with Ben Doherty having a free shot from outside the box easily saved by Gareth Deane when he really should have made him work, before Jamie McGonigle hit the post.

Linfield came more into it and had their first chance when Niall Quinn’s cross, deliberately bypassing those waiting in the middle, fell to Kirk Millar who fired over when he needed to go low.

Jordan Stewart then fired over from outside the box. He had options to pass but he is justified to shoot considering the form he is in. Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns berated his defence. There may have been a double motivation, as it killed the game.

It was Coleraine who took the lead when Gareth McConaghie scored from close range after a cross from Jamie Glackin. It was poor from Linfield, who all switched off believing that the ball was going out for a goal kick, and couldn’t recover by the time the cross came in.

It wasn’t the only time that Linfield were slow to react in the first-half. Coleraine almost counter attacked because Jimmy Callacher was trying to shepherd the ball out for a corner, while Coleraine went on a counter attack as Jamie Mulgrew was second to the ball from a Linfield throw in Coleraine’s half.

Throughout the first-half, Linfield were sloppy in possession. Jordan Stewart conceding a throw straight from kick-off, the clock on the scoreboard wasn’t even running yet so I couldn’t tell you how many seconds it was into the game, was a ominous warning.

The only moments of joy they had was trying to get Marek Cervenka in behind Coleraine’s defence. The joy was limited though, as he couldn’t get a clear goalscoring opportunity, often being denied by Chris Johns clearing it or a Coleraine defender shepherding the ball out.

A big improvement was needed from Linfield. As my DAB could only pick up the Rugger and I have no data on my phone, so I was unaware of scores elsewhere. Regardless of what was happening elsewhere, Linfield had to win this.

Within a few minutes of the second-half, the task got harder for Linfield, when Dean Shiels made it 2-0 to Coleraine. Wether it was a goal, was up for debate.

I was sat at the other end and it didn’t look over the line. The TV footage, looked inconclusive, and that is being generous.

This game was heading the same way as the fixture in November. They didn’t look like scoring, but they had over 40 minutes to rectify the situation.

Immediately, Daniel Kearns, Michael O’Connor and Joel Cooper were sent to warm up. David Healy had options to change it, unlike in November when he had to throw on youngsters Daniel Reynolds and Brandon Doyle.

Just before the hour, Linfield got a goal back when a free-kick was headed back into the six yard box by NIFWA January Player Of The Month Jimmy Callacher and it fell to Josh Robinson.

He couldn’t quite control of the ball, it looked like one of those days, but he managed to get enough space to smash the ball into the back of the net.

In November, Linfield only had a couple of minutes left after pulling a goal back to make it 2-1, now they had over half and hour, and they were determined to make every second count.

The atmosphere at Windsor Park lifted, Linfield fans knew their team needed their backing, and they were up for it.

More pressure continued from Linfield, and they got an equaliser when Niall Quinn started and finished a move by firing home from just beside the penalty spot.

Linfield fans weren’t sure how and why he was in such a central position, but we were all thankful that he was.

68 minutes on the clock and still plenty of time to win the game, Linfield now had all the momentum.

2-0 has been a dangerous lead in this fixture in recent years, with Coleraine and then Linfield blowing 2-0 leads at home to draw 2-2 last season.

That wasn’t what Linfield wanted, they wanted a repeat of the game in February 2016 when Linfield came from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

By now, Ballymena United were winning at Institute, but only 2-1, while Crusaders were 1-0 down at Dungannon Swifts. There was no point in going a point further clear of Crusaders if Ballymena United were going to get two points closer to us.

Andrew Waterworth (goal) and Jordan Stewart (clean through on goal) were both denied by the offside flag as Linfield went in search of a winner.

Michael O’Connor came on for Marek Cervenka and Joel Cooper came on for Andrew Waterworth as Linfield searched for the winner.

On 83 minutes, it looked like it would be O’Connor who would get it when a Joel Cooper flick fell perfectly for him, only to be denied by the post. A shot from him was then blocked by a Coleraine defender and looped up onto the bar.

Linfield had to be careful they weren’t caught out by attacking so much, and got a reminder of this when Gareth Deane was forced into a save from James McLaughlin.

We then entered three minutes of injury time. It should have been more due to the amount of timewasting by Coleraine. And yet, the only time you ever see a goalkeeper get booked for it, it’s Roy Carroll.

It was enough time for Linfield to win the game thankfully, as a corner fell to Michael O’Connor, who saw his shot blocked, only to fall to Kyle McClean who fired home low to give Linfield the lead.

It wasn’t quite the points secured, as Coleraine still had one last attack, which resulted in a corner that Linfield just about cleared, learning their lesson from last week, and seeing out the game to win 3-2.

Ballymena United and Crusaders results stayed as they were, meaning that they remain six points clear of Ballymena, albeit with a game more played, and twelve clear of Crusaders. I think we can safely rule Crusaders out of the title race, if they were ever in it.

Ballymena’s game in hand isn’t until mid March, so if Linfield keep winning, Ballymena will have to keep up. Especially if Linfield win their next League match, against Ballymena on 23rd February.

That can wait, as it will be the second successive Saturday they meet, as they meet in the NIFL Cup Final next weekend. It’s been so long since Linfield won it, Glenn Ferguson scored the winner off the bench. As a substitute for Joe Bambrick.

The truth is, the first match won’t have any impact on the second. Winning one won’t automatically mean you win the other. Hopefully, next week, we’ll be celebrating a trophy. Hopefully, the first of three.

Hopefully, Linfield won’t turn up at 4.10pm and start playing next week. Obviously, that would be a waste of time because the match kicks off at 5.30pm.

Remember, if you can’t go, it’s on Sky Sports. As is Glentoran v Glenavon on Monday 18th, while Glenavon are on TV again on BBC on Friday 22nd. They’re on TV more times than Aston Villa these days.

At the moment, it looks like the away game against Newry is still going to be on February 26th, which is disappointing as Saturday 2nd March is now free. It was also space the games out better, meaning we don’t travel to Mourneview Park on 8th March after ten days without a game.

Guess what? That Glenavon match is live on TV. Just give them their own channel.

That rescheduling for TV works out well for Linfield as it gives them an extra day’s rest ahead of the County Antrim Shield Final on 12th March, which is now the provisional date for it.

That works out handy for me, as I have Chvrches (19th February) and KT Tunstall (5th March) over the next few Tuesdays, and was worried about a clash.

There are Irish Cup ties on Monday, with Ballymena involved. Hopefully, a heavy pitch and extra-time ahead of the NIFL Cup Final.

I’m not sure why they can’t play on European nights when three postponed Quarter-Finals were played on a European night last season.

After sorting out fixture scheduling in the Irish League, I now turn my attention to Scottish football.

Disappointingly, Bohs have had to pull out of the Irn Bru Cup after their game against East Fife was postponed last week.

Why not play it on the Semi-Final weekend, and there is still five weeks until the Final to slot the other Semi-Final in.

When it was announced that League of Ireland teams were entering the competition, the obvious thing that stood out was when the Quarter-Finals would be played if an Irish team was involved. Surely they could have made contingency plans?

It’s looking like Linfield will be in the competition again next season, but if we’re drawn away to Spartans or Edinburgh City, we may be subject to a Tourist Tax.

Robbing bastards. If i’m paying £2 for every day i’m in Edinburgh, i’m entitled to make a few demands of Edinburgh City Council.

1. Total smoking ban in the city. 2. Signage telling people to walk on the left of the footpath. 3. Jimmy Chungs to return to Waverley Train Station.

Just introduce a Flyer Tax and a Poster Tax if you’re that short of money.

Scottish Challenge Cup can wait, it’s about what we want in February 2019.

That’s a nine point lead at the top of the table and the NIFL Cup in the bag.

Photo Album

2018 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November 2018 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield scrape a late draw at home to Warrenpoint Town.

From Warrenpoint to Waterford, as the following week I spent a few days in Waterford seeing Waterford Walls, with a brief stop-off in Dublin.

The day after my return to Belfast, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Coleraine.

The following weekend, a new ground for me to visit for the first time, as I headed to The Brandywell to see Linfield take on Institute.

The day after, it was a return to Windsor Park, and another bad home result, as Northern Ireland lost to Austria in the UEFA Nations League.

On the following weekend, I headed to The Limelight to see Cast in concert.

That was then followed by a good home result at Windsor Park, as Linfield beat Cliftonville 4-2.

I then headed to Manchester for a few days, to see United take on BSC Young Boys and get some Street Art photos.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Waterford Walls

Waterford Walls Photo Album

Linfield v Coleraine

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Austria

Northern Ireland v Austria Photo Album

Cast live at The Limelight

Cast live at The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys

Manchester United v BSC Young Boys Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

2018 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

September 2018 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ards on the first day of the month, for a match that finished 0-0.

The following day, I headed out on bike to check out the latest scribbles on the Belfast Peace Wall.

On the third day of the month, yes, three successive days of photo adventures, I headed to The Limelight to see The Kooks in concert.

The following weekend, it was a football double header, taking in Linfield’s trip to Warrenpoint Town, and then Northern Ireland’s first ever UEFA Nations League match, at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina.

There was more football, taking in Linfield’s matches against Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine.

Sandwiched inbetween that was a trip to The Palm House to see Kyle Falconer in concert, and then Belfast Culture Night.

In the aftermath of Culture Night, I was out getting photos of new Street Art which appeared in Belfast, as part of Hit The North.

The month ended with me taking in Linfield’s home match with Ballymena United.

Linfield v Ards

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

The Kooks live at The Limelight

The Kooks live at The Limelight Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina

Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Kyle Falconer live at The Palm House

Kyle Falconer live at The Palm House Photo Album

Culture Night Belfast 2018

Culture Night Belfast 2018 Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

North Street Art

North Street Art Work In Progress

North Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

2018 IN PICTURES – APRIL

April 2018 began for me with a trip to Smithfield, to snap a new mural commemorating Smithfield Market.

Two days later, on Easter Tuesday, it was a trip to Lurgan for me to see Linfield take on Glenavon.

It was a month dominated by football, as I went to Linfield’s matches against Ballymena, Crusaders, Coleraine and Cliftonville.

The month ended as it started, with me checking out some Street Art, well, mostly the now finished garden at CS Lewis Square which featured a tribute to famous East Belfast people and landmarks.

Smithfield

Smithfield Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Cliftonville

East Belfast Wall Of Fame

East Belfast Wall Of Fame Photo Album