PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

The 2014-2015 football season began domestically in August, with a trip to Portadown, for Linfield’s first domestic game under Warren Feeney.

The optimism was soon gone within 90 minutes as Portadown ran out 3-0 winners.

A few days later, I was in Cardiff for the European Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Sevilla. It was a fantastic trip and great to visit another stadium for the first time. Was very impressed with the facilities there.

24 hours later, I was headed to The Oval to see Linfield get their first domestic win under Warren Feeney, a comeback win from 2-0 down.

That weekend, I was in Edinburgh, and took in a game, Hearts v Hibs at Tynecastle.

With Windsor Park being redeveloped, Linfield had a run of seven successive away games, so road trips became a regular feature of the opening weeks of the season, with trips to Institute (first time there), Ballyclare Comrades and Dungannon Swifts finishing off August.

Portadown v Linfield

Real Madrid v Sevilla

Real Madrid v Sevilla Photo Album

Glentoran v Linfield

Hearts v Hibs

Hearts v Hibs Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Ballyclare Comrades v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

BALLYCLARE COMRADES 1-0 LINFIELD 25.8.2014

There’s no way to put a gloss on this, as Warren Feeney’s first taste of domestic cup action saw Linfield fall to a deserved defeat against second tier opponents.

48 hours after the league game against Institute, it’s no surprise that there many changes from the team that started on Saturday, nine in fact.

It’s easy to question the team in retrospect, but if Warren Feeney kept the same team, and then Linfield didn’t win on Saturday, people would have been quick to complain.

Yes, there were a lot of kids playing, but there was also a lot of senior Irish League players. Haughey, Quinn, Carvill, Glendenning and Clarke have played enough games not to be considered inexperienced youngsters.

The team that started last night should have been good enough to win.

Linfield had some early pressure in the game, but didn’t get a shot on goal, it was mostly misplaced crossed and defenders getting a final touch to clear the ball.

If Linfield had went 1-0 up, it would have set them up for a comfortable victory.

“If” is the biggest word in football. If Linfield went 1-0 up when on top at Portadown ….. If Linfield went 2-0 up when they were on top at Institute ……

Ballyclare’s attacking play for most of the first-half was restricted to speculative long range shots. That had a chance towards the end of the first-half when they got behind Linfield’s defence, but the shot was fired over. It should have served as a warning.

Like on Saturday, Linfield couldn’t get going in the second-half, and when Ballyclare got an attempt on goal, they scored.

In a game like this, the first goal was going to be crucial. If Linfield got it, it would have been a comfortable victory. Now that Ballyclare got it, they had something to defend and hang on to, not that they were actually hanging on at any point in the second-half.

Soon afterwards, Warren Feeney and Kirk Millar were brought off the bench. Millar, is quickly becoming Linfield’s most important attacking player. He didn’t have the best of games. There was no Plan B.

Ross Clarke, a player I have previously championed, was disappointing all night.

We learnt that Linfield were defensive shaky and in desperate need of another striker. In short, we learnt nothing new.

For the last ten minutes, Ballyclare were comfortable, which was the most damming thing about the performance. Linfield never looked like scoring

Photo Album

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : 2013-2014

Barring something amazing, my matchgoing 2013-2014 season is over, time for a statistical analysis.

There were no curiousities to report. Went to some games, saw some goals, visited some new grounds. Standard stuff.

Matches Attended : 47

Goals Seen : 139

Red Cards : 23

Hat-Tricks : 2

Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)
Robin Van Persie (Manchester United v Olympiacos)

Penalties Missed/Saved : 2

Highest Scoring Match : 7 (Linfield 5-2 Ards, Glenavon 2-5 Linfield)

Countries Seen Matches In : 4

England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland

Teams Seen Play : 31

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Cliftonville, Crusaders, Crystal Palace (1st time) Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Everton (1st time), Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Leyton Orient (1st time), Linfield, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Peterborough United (1st time) Portadown, Portugal, Russia (1st time) Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur, Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Competitions Watched : 11

County Antrim Shield, European Cup, FA Premier League, Football League One (1st time), Irish Cup, Irish League, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Stadiums Visited : 18

Ballymena Showgrounds, Brisbane Road (1st time), Coleraine Showgrounds, Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Milltown (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, The Oval, White Hart Lane (1st time), Windsor Park,

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – SEPTEMBER

September began for me with the World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Portugal. Everything looked set for a Northern Ireland win, until Ronaldo turned on his magic, aided by playing against nine men.

The next day, it was back to Irish League action, as I made my first visit to Dixon Park, to see Linfield take on Ards.

The following weekend, I was Old Trafford bound. A trip with a difference, as it was my first visit with David Moyes as United manager, for the game against Crystal Palace.

There was much hype in the build-up about a Belgian on the bench about to make his first appearance for United at Old Trafford. Little did we know, it would be another Belgian on the bench that day we would be falling in love with over the season.

Seven days later, I was on my travels again, to Fermanagh, to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard, getting some nice shots on a sunny day, and watching Linfield win.

To end the month, it was back to Windsor Park for the first time in three weeks, to see Linfield take on Coleraine, which was won by Linfield with an injury time goal.

The sunny days might have been ending, but the football season was in full swing. Time to look forward to the Winter months.

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Linfield v Coleraine

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF A FOOTBALL YEAR : 2013

So, my football watching is over for 2013. Time to look back at the year just gone. And what better way to do it than with a load of stats.

Games : 48

Goals Seen : 135

Red Cards : 19

Missed/Saved Penalties : 5

Hat-Tricks : 2

Matthew Tipton (Linfield v Coleraine)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Northern Ireland v Portugal)

Teams Seen : 35

Ards, Ballinamallard United, Ballymena United, Bangor, Cliftonville, Coleraine, Crystal Palace (1st time), Crusaders, Derriaghy CC, Drogheda United, Dundee United (1st time), Dungannon Swifts, Falkirk (1st time), Fulham, Glenavon, Glentoran, Hibernian, IF Fuglafjordur (1st time), Israel (1st time), Linfield, Lisburn Distillery, Manchester United, Northern Ireland, Norwich City, Portadown, Portugal, Queens Park Rangers, Rangers, Reading (1st time), Russia (1st time), Shamrock Rovers (1st time), Skoda Xanthi (1st time), St Patrick’s Athletic, Tobermore United (1st time) Warrenpoint Town (1st time)

Stadiums Visited : 21

Ballymena Showgrounds, Clandeboye Park, Coleraine Showgrounds, Craven Cottage (1st time), Dixon Park (1st time), Easter Road, Ferney Park, Hampden Park, Ibrox (1st time), Loftus Road (1st time), Mourneview Park, Old Trafford, Richmond Park, Seaview, Seycon Park, Shamrock Park, Solitude, Stangmore Park, Tallaght Stadium (1st time), The Oval, Windsor Park

Competitions : 11

FA Premier League, IFA Championship, IFA Premiership, Irish Cup, League Of Ireland, Northern Ireland League Cup, Setanta Cup, Scottish Cup, Scottish Premier League, UEFA Cup, World Cup,

Curiousities :

2nd Feb/6th Apr : Two matches in one day

2nd Feb : First ever floodlight failure at a match attended, Fulham v Manchester United

Feb – Apr : Visiting, Queen’s Park, Rangers, and Queens Park Rangers grounds.

UEFA 100 Club : Dundee United (now at 30 clubs)

Top Five Matches :

1. Northern Ireland 2-4 Portugal
2. Falkirk 3-4 Hibernian AET
3. Fulham 0-1 Manchester United
4. Linfield 3-1 Cliftonville
5. Coleraine 2-3 Linfield

2013 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

The summer might have ended, but that wasn’t the end of my photo adventures.

My first weekend saw me having a football double bill, Northern Ireland’s World Cup Qualifier against Portugal, followed by Linfield’s trip to Ballyclare to take on Ards, my first ever trip to Dixon Park

The following weekend, was another first, my first trip to Old Trafford to see a David Moyes Manchester United game, against Crystal Palace.

The weekend after that, was Culture Night, then a trip to Ballinamallard to see Linfield, then back to Belfast in time for Manic Street Preachers.

The day after the Manics, I was headed to the Cathedral Quarter to see the new Street Art painted as part of Culture Night, now that the dust had settled.

In fact, there was so much Street Art, I missed some, and had to come back the following Saturday. Later that day, I went to see Linfield take on Coleraine.

To end the month, I headed to East Belfast to get some Street Art shots, the Newtownards Road also getting the same treatment as North Street on Culture Night

Northern Ireland v Portugal

Northern Ireland v Portugal Photo Album

Ards v Linfield

The Butcher

Manchester United v Crystal Palace

Manchester United v Crystal Palace Photo Album

Manchester

Culture Night Belfast 2013

Culture Night Belfast 2013 Photo Album

Ballinamallard United v Linfield

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall

Manic Street Preachers Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Photo Album

North Street – A Culture Night Legacy Part 2

Linfield v Coleraine

East Belfast Street Art

ARDS 1-3 LINFIELD 7.9.2013

Just under 18 hours after leaving Windsor Park, I was heading to another football match at a venue i’d never been to before …… Dixon Park in Ballyclare, to see Linfield take on Ards.

Strictly speaking, I had been past Dixon Park, i’d just never been to the ground for a match. Not going to lie, i’d been waiting for this game since the fixture list was announced, purely to visit another ground for the first time.

It was my third time for an “away” game against Ards, the other two being played in Bangor. I’d been to Castlereagh Park twice, to see Ards take on Sheffield Wednesday (friendly) and Auxerre (Inter Toto Cup)

Central location in the town, and able to stand behind whichever goal you wish. Not much to complain about off the field.

After a dreadful start, Linfield found themselves only four points off the top of the league, albeit in 10th due to a congested table where 8 teams were separated by 2 points. It goes without saying, that getting a winning run is vital.

Not getting into a winning run from the start, and falling so far behind cost Linfield, it’s important not to repeat that.

Linfield got off to a good start, when a Matthew Tipton run and cross was converted by Aaron Burns, back in the team after his red card last Saturday.

A routine win from there? Not quite. Ards got level soon after with a penalty and were deservedly level at half-time. Someone in the crowd summed it up perfectly when he shouted “Here, Linfield, you know the way Ards are playing football, maybe you should try that”

I wasn’t at the Warrenpoint game on Tuesday, but seemingly, it was similar today. Linfield got an early second-half goal and killed the game when in front.

There was no early second-half goal, and it showed.

For all the possession, Linfield never looked like getting a shot on goal, never mine and actual goal. Ards were comfortable at 1-1, hoping to try and nick a winner.

Eventually, with 20 minutes to go, Linfield went back in front when Matthew Tipton, on the verge of being subbed, headed home. Suddenly, the mood changed.

From there, there was only one winner, and an Aaron Burns header from a corner secured the points.

Even though Linfield won, there is a massive improvement needed in future weeks. Ironically, the performance in the 0-0 draw with Glentoran last week was far far better.

Four games unbeaten, climbing up the table. It looks good, but inreality, it was a hard watch today.

Photo Album