MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : CHARLES BUCHAN’S FOOTBALL MONTHLY – JUNE 1971

Match action from Liverpool against Everton is the cover image of Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly as the summer of 1971 has arrived.

Alex Stepney of Manchester United tells about his most embarrassing moment on a football pitch, the time he conceded a goal to Pat Jennings in the 1967 Charity Shield.

There is a profile of Steve Heighway of Liverpool who is described as exploding a myth that footballers can’t combine a football career with education.

Inter-League matches are the subject of a full page article calling for them to be scrapped as they are outdated.

There is a profile of veteran Dave Mackay, who aims to help Swindon Town into Division One for the first time in their history.

There is a review of the Texaco Cup, looking at the difference in quality between English and Scottish clubs.

In foreign news, Pele is a star attraction in France after Santos played a friendly in Paris against an All Star XI.

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DUNGANNON SWIFTS 1-4 LINFIELD 12.10.2019

Linfield enjoyed their visit to Stangmore Park on Tuesday night they decided to come back on the Saturday, and enjoyed themselves just as much.

This game was the second in a double header of away games against Dungannon Swifts. The objective on Tuesday was advancing in the NIFL Cup, this match was about getting three points and getting the title challenge back on track after defeat the previous weekend.

Linfield’s results in recent years against Dungannon have been decent, unbeaten since 2013, and winning the last four meetings. It’s been almost too good. Dungannon are due one against us, which makes me nervous going into games against them.

This run of results has gone one of two ways – a resounding win for Linfield by four or five goals, or an undeserved scrappy one goal win.

Curiously, the last time that 12th October fell on a Saturday was in 2013. Who did Linfield play that day? Dungannon Swifts, a 2-0 win at Windsor Park with both the goals coming from Andrew Waterworth.

The most memorable thing about that game was the fact it kicked-off at 3.45pm due to the motorway being closed that morning due to a bomb scare.

Six years on, Andrew Waterworth was still scoring against Dungannon, and arrived looking to score on his fourth successive visit to Stangmore Park, having been restored to Linfield’s starting eleven due to Shayne Lavery being unavailable due to being in the Northern Ireland squad.

He wasn’t the only Andrew returning to the starting eleven, with Andrew Mitchell coming in for the injured Bastien Hery.

Linfield had a lot of early pressure, the closest they came was when a Stephen Fallon shot was saved by the legs of Niall Morgan.

There wasn’t long to wait for Linfield to take the lead, as Andrew Waterworth finished from close range after a Joel Cooper cross, the fourth successive game at Stangmore Park in which he scored. He also scored at around the same time he scored when the sides last met in March last season, if you believe in omens.

Even at this early stage, it was clear that Dungannon were struggling to handle Joel Cooper, and Linfield weren’t slow in exploiting it. Every time he got the ball he was usually clear, in space and looking to cross.

Despite this, Linfield needed a two goal lead, especially as Rohan Ferguson was forced into a save after Sean Noble got in behind Linfield’s defence.

There wasn’t long to wait for Linfield to get a second goal, after Kirk Millar was played through on goal.

I was shouting for him to smash it low across the keeper, but what do I know, he chipped the keeper in an replica of his second goal against Sutjeska in August. His best goalscoring season at the club continues, long may it continue.

A few minutes later, it was 3-0 when Joel Cooper broke clear down the left and fired home low. That meant that all of Linfield’s front three had found the net.

That surely meant the points were in the bag, but Linfield made absolutely certain of it by going 4-0 up in the final minutes of the half.

As players were queuing up to score, Matthew Clarke cross for Kirk Millar to head home.

Pointless stat for you, but Linfield have scored at least four in a game on at least one occasion against every team they have faced in the League since David Healy became Manager in October 2015 apart from two. The answer may surprise you – Carrick Rangers and Newry City.

This was the sixth time Linfield had scored at least four against Dungannon Swifts during that four year period.

Having had a game in midweek and with midweek games in the next three weeks, it was no surprise that the second-half was a non event, with energy needing to be saved with big games coming up in the next few weeks.

A goalmouth scramble was the closest Linfield came to making it 5-0.

There would be a goal in the second-half, but it came for Dungannon Swifts when Daniel Hughes fired home to make it 4-1. Thankfully, there was never a danger of Dungannon making a comeback.

It was disappointing to concede in terms of Goal Difference. Linfield are seven worse than Crusaders and five worse than Coleraine in that regard, but with three games in hand, and a further twenty-seven to play after that, so there is no need to panic.

The only other moment of note in the second-half was when a cross was intercepted by a Dungannon defender, much to the frustration of Kirk Millar, who was set to put the ball home for a hat-trick.

The only thing of note, on the pitch that is.

During the first-half, an announcement was made over the tannoy for someone to remove their car as it was blocking a Farmer’s Field. A further announcement was made that the PSNI were arriving to remove the vehicle.

Whilst we were all waiting on the outcome of this situation, there is no announcement, so we’ll never know what happened.

Unsurprisingly, Linfield made three subs, with Joel Cooper, Andrew Waterworth and Kirk Millar getting an early rest, with a League debut for teenager Charlie Allen.

Other results saw Ballymena United draw with Crusaders, which was good for Linfield on two regards. Ballymena have snuck under the radar, but if they won this game and their game in hand (at home to Linfield), they would only be four points off the top of the table, so it is good to start opening up a gap on them.

We have a great opportunity to extend that next weekend when Ballymena United come to Windsor Park. It is a ground where David Jeffrey hasn’t won in his last eleven games there, including nine defeats in a row. Let’s make it ten.

This weekend should have been Matchday 11, when everybody should have played each other once, a good barometer of where teams are it.

It is for only five clubs, with the others having games in hand due to postponements caused by Linfield and Glenavon’s involvement in international competitions.

A few observations so far. Glentoran and Larne are at best going to be scrambling for Top 6 despite the hype. Larne’s only wins this season have come against the Bottom Four.

Coleraine draw too many games and Crusaders concede too many goals.

Cliftonville are doing better than I expected, but it is interesting to note their only defeats have come against Linfield, Crusaders and Ballymena United, so they come up short against the top teams.

Linfield can’t really say much with their only dropped points coming in defeats to Coleraine and Crusaders.

We’ll need to remedy that, and we’ll get a chance with a trip to Coleraine at the end of October.

Before that, Coleraine play Crusaders at Seaview. It makes a win against Ballymena even more vital. Not only will we pull clear of Ballymena, but we’ll take advantage of what happens at Seaview.

Whatever the outcome, there’s no bad result, but only if we win, as we’ll cut the gap on at least one, possibly two rivals.

And then, we’ll be ticking off one of our games in hand in the midweek after.

Talking of Glenavon, they lost 3-1 to Raith Rovers in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers Cup, with the first goal for Raith coming from a player called Bowie, who I believe was their Star Man.

Glenavon took Linfield’s place in the competition. As much as I would have enjoyed a weekend in Edinburgh (to base myself for the game in Fife) and a walk up Arthur’s Seat, I can see why the club decline the invitation to enter the competition.

If we were playing in it, wins over Cliftonville and Dungannon would be postponed and still to be played. We’d be six points worse off and 8th and fourteen points off the top, albeit with five games in hand.

If I was in Edinburgh, I may have been tempted to do a day trip in Glasgow to see Scotland v San Marino. That temptation would end at £30 a ticket.

If things had worked out differently, I may have been going to see a Euro 2020 Qualifier as a neutral.

I’m taking a short visit to Vilnius in November for a break. My original choice of date was this week (Sunday to Wednesday), to take in Lithuania v Serbia while i’m there. However, the flight dates didn’t suit as I needed to be back on Wednesday for Two Door Cinema Club.

Up next for Linfield, is a County Antrim Shield match at home against Cliftonville, after being drawn at home to Cliftonville in the NIFL Cup.

The big matches keep on coming. You wouldn’t have it any other way.

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL MONTHLY – MAY 1986

Gary Lineker is the cover star of this edition of Football Monthly in the early summer of 1986 as the World Cup in Mexico nears.

The editorial focuses on that World Cup, commenting that England, Northern Ireland and Scotland will be at a disadvantage due to a lack of preparation time due to club commitments.

England’s warm up friendly away to Soviet Union, a 1-0 win in Tblisi, gets a double page feature.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid were celebrating after winning their first title in six years.

Oxford United’s win over QPR in the recent League Cup Final gets a four page feature, including a team poster in the centre spread.

Also celebrating were Justin Finch and Darrell Dunscombe, who were crowned UK Subbutteo Champions, the tournament getting a full page of coverage.

Having just signed for Barcelona, there is a full page feature on the career so far of Mark Hughes.

Bryan Hamilton gets a full page interview as he aims to steer Wigan Athletic towards Division Two.

As the World Cup gets closer, there is a four page preview of Group F, which features England.

Ian McShane also looks forward to the World Cup, even though he will miss a lot of it due to filming commitments for the new series of Lovejoy, revealing that he travelled to Mexico to watch England when the World Cup was last there in 1970.

In Scotland, Alex Ferguson is facing the agonising decision of having to leave players out of his squad as he is set to decide who does and doesn’t go to Mexico.

Jack Charlton began his reign as Republic of Ireland manager with a defeat to Wales, while Martin Harvey will be back in Northern Ireland’s coaching staff in Mexico.

CRUSADERS 1-0 LINFIELD 4.10.2019

A first live Friday night TV Game of the season saw Linfield head to Seaview looking to close the gap at the top of the table. Unfortunatley, it got bigger, but there is no need to panic.

Unsurprisingly, Linfield’s starting eleven was the same as the one that began the previous match, a 7-0 win over Glenavon.

There was one surprise at the start of the game, as Linfield attacked the Shore Road in the first-half where their fans were based. I think the last time that happened was April 2014.

Those fans that were at that end didn’t see a lot of attacking action from Linfield. There wasn’t a lot of attacking action from Crusaders thankfully, bar a Jordan Owens shot that was blocked.

Linfield’s first real attacking moment of note came from a Mark Stafford header under pressure that went wide.

The main talking point, and recurring theme of the half, was the number of yellow cards for fouls on Jamie Mulgrew. It’s not often you can put brains and Crusaders in the same sentence, but they had the brains to do it on a rotating basis in order to avoid getting a second yellow.

Billy Joe Burns hit the side netting in Crusaders next attacking moment of note. You would have been disappointed if the keeper was beaten from there.

Stephen Fallon then had an inswinging cross that went just wide and Matthew Clarke had a shot saved as Linfield ended the first-half strongly.

They couldn’t get the goal. The better team but not dominant, but good foundations to build on for the second-half.

Those foundations tumbled in the opening minutes when Kirk Millar’s misplaced pass was seized upon by Rory Hale who curled home from outside the box.

Within a few minutes, Joel Cooper had a shot blocked while a Crusaders counter attack saw Ross Clarke’s low shot blocked by Rohan Ferguson.

That effort from Cooper was Linfield’s only response in the aftermath of the Crusaders goal.

David Healy turned to his bench in search of an equaliser, bringing on Andrew Waterworth, Matthew Shevlin and Daniel Reynolds from the bench.

Despite those three options, as I said a few weeks back, the attacking options from the bench don’t seem as plentiful while Jordan Stewart and Daniel Kearns are unavailable.

As we approached injury time, it looked like Linfield were going to get their big chance when the ball fell perfectly for Daniel Reynolds on the edge of the penalty area, but his low shot was saved by the legs of Gerard Doherty.

It confirmed that it was going to be a frustrating evening for Linfield, even more so when Shayne Lavery was laughably booked for being barged over in the left win position.

Stephen Fallon had a long range shot go wide in the final seconds as Linfield’s six match winning run ended.

It was a frustrating result on so many levels. Crusaders were there for the taking. Not just in the first-half. Crusaders had conceded eight goals in their previous three games and were vulnerable. We didn’t work their defence enough in the second-half.

If Linfield had as much urgency as we did in the final minutes much earlier, they would have got something out of this game.

There is no need to panic. Crusaders aren’t as far away as they seem. If Linfield win their games in hand, they will only be two points behind Crusaders.

There was nothing in this game that suggested Crusaders are a team to be feared. I’d be very disappointed if Linfield don’t get at least seven points from the remaining three League games.

A run of three defeats in four against Crusaders is worrying. A recurring theme, not taking your chances and not blocking speculative long range shots.

We have to do what we did after the Coleraine match in August, dust ourselves down and go again. That will involve two trips to Dungannon in four days.

Elsewhere, Cliftonville won 1-0 at The Oval while Larne could only beat Glenavon 6-0. As I type, Coleraine lead 4-1 at Carrick.

It might not be a bad thing for there to be a traffic jam at the top of the League. Linfield can take advantage of other teams playing under pressure and taking points off each other.

Frustratingly, Ballymena United are out of the Scottish Challenge Cup, as if they were involved, their match against Crusaders would have been postponed, giving Linfield an opportunity to but the lead.

A disappointing night but no need to panic. Having three games postponed in August/September meant that the climb to the top was always going to be a long climb. This is just a stumble rather than a fall.

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL EUROPE – MAY 1999

Paul Scholes is the cover star of Football Europe, in an edition that looks at England’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2000.

Headliners this month include Pep Guardiola, who doesn’t share the opinion of some of his Dutch team-mates that the La Liga title race is over and that Barcelona will stroll to the title.

Meanwhile, Kevin Campbell is also labelled as a “Headliner” having gotten off to a goalscoring start to his career at Everton, having returned to English football following a short spell in Turkey.

Inter Milan get a profile amid a turbulent season where they had three managers, but look set for no trophies.

Henrik Larsson gets profiled, having signed a four year deal with Celtic, with Football Europe asking why he doesn’t consider a move to England’s Premier League.

There is also a profile of football in The Balkans and the potential affect of Civil Unrest in the region, which has already seen various Euro 2000 Qualifiers postponed.

There are then four pages dedicated to the latest progress in the Euro 2000 Qualifiers.

There is a feature on the best football websites on the web, with UEFA’s official site getting a mention for having a section dedicate to the bids to host Euro 2004.

LINFIELD 7-0 GLENAVON 28.9.2019

With three matches postponed due to European involvement and international call-ups, Linfield’s season got off to a false start, hoping that a run of wins in September would kickstart their season.

Glenavon would say that their season also got off to a false start and were hoping that a run of September wind would kickstart their season.

Their circumstances were different to Linfield’s, as it was a series of dropped points and one postponement due to the Scottish Challenge Cup (Ironically, because Linfield declined to take part) have seen them be closer to the Relegation Zone than the top of the League, which is why they were looking for a (late) September run of form to kickstart their season.

They got one of those wins as a starting point, last Saturday against Ballymena United. A bit of a shock to this Observer, as I had expected Ballymena to leave Mourneview Park with three points.

Linfield had two changes to their starting eleven from their last outing, with Jamie Mulgrew coming in for Andrew Waterworth as Linfield reverted to a 4-3-3/4-5-1.

That meant Ryan McGivern dropped to the bench to make way for Matthew Clarke, with Niall Quinn moving to right-back.

To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about that as i’m not a fan of playing left footed players at Right-Back, Andrew Mitchell would have been a better option to slot in there instead of Clarke.

As it turned out, Glenavon barely got a chance to attack Quinn. Anyway, he will argue that he’s not too bad on his right, having used it to open the score at Carrick on Monday night.

Linfield’s first two games upon return from Europe were 1-0 wins. We wanted more goals. Be careful what you wish for, we got five at Ballinamallard, but at the cost of four goals conceded at the other end. Linfield fans were waiting for their side to get the balance just perfect.

Linfield were straight on the attack and were rewarded on three minutes when Shayne Lavery poked home from twelve yards after a cross from Joel Cooper.

There was an element of luck to the goal as the ball came to Cooper after his pass to Matthew Clarke was intercepted. From where I was sat, it looked like Clarke was offside, but the ball never got to him. Cooper made the most of his second chance.

It was Linfield’s first goal against Glenavon at Windsor Park since Andrew Waterworth scored a pointless consolation goal with the last kick of a 3-2 defeat in January 2018. Curiously, Linfield went 1-0 up after 3 minutes that day.

If Glenavon thought Linfield were going to take it easy, they were wrong, Shayne Lavery letting Glenavon defenders know they were in for a torrid afternoon by charging down a clearance, but not getting the luck his tenacity deserved as the ball went out for a goal kick.

Soon after, Niall Quinn went just wide with his right foot, trying to recreate his goal against Carrick.

It was clear from the opening minutes that Linfield were up for this, Bastien Hery running things in midfield, every time he got the ball, he was spoilt for choice for attacking options. They just needed a second goal to truly take advantage of their superiority.

They almost got it when Joel Cooper had a header saved by Jonathan Tuffey, and then hit the woodwork with the rebound.

There wasn’t long to wait for Linfield, as Bastien Hery played Kirk Millar in, who waited for Shayne Lavery to amend his run to be on the end of a cross. Lavery’s shot was scuffed, but it went in. If you make the run and aim for goal, you make your own luck.

Hery then got an inadvertent assist when his shot was blocked, but fell perfectly to Shayne Lavery to finish to make it 3-0, a hat-trick inside the opening 14 minutes, just like Andrew Waterworth against Cliftonville in 2017. Any excuse to bring up that match.

Lavery and Hery will get all the headlines from this game, but the contribution of Millar and Cooper shouldn’t go unnoticed. Everytime Hery, Fallon or Mulgrew got the ball, Millar and Cooper were usually in space, looking for the ball. When they got it, they were rarely wasteful with it.

Lavery then had a spectacular effort go just wide as Linfield looked to make it 4-0.

In the interest of balance, it should be noted that Glenavon did have an attempt on goal, Andrew Mitchell having a shot saved from a wide angle.

A big save, as there still would have been time for a Glenavon comeback at 3-1, you don’t want to give the opposition any encouragement.

That was it as far as Glenavon were concerned as an attacking threat.

The next goal came for Linfield, when Bastien Hery fired home from the edge of the box with his right foot after a pass from Matthew Clarke. Throughout the attack, it always looked like Linfield had an extra man available for a pass.

Just before that, Stephen Fallon had a shot well saved, in a game where he had a silent influence.

Every time a Glenavon player had the ball, their second touch was …… they didn’t get a second touch as they were dispossessed by Fallon.

Jack O’Mahony had a shot tipped over as Glenavon looked to launch an unlikely comeback. It was never going to happen.

Joel Cooper made it 5-0 just afterwards just to be sure. Yep, i’m being that guy.

It wouldn’t be a Linfield goalfest without Jimmy Callacher getting involved, and he obliged to make it 6-0, his first goal at Windsor Park since Boxing Day, after Glenavon couldn’t clear the ball after a Shayne Lavery header was cleared off the line.

Just like the other goals, there were always options for Linfield when the ball came into the box.

If Callacher missed the header, Kirk Millar would have scored. If he hit the post, Mark Stafford would have scored the rebound.

With the points in the bag, David Healy rested some players, bringing on Andrew Waterworth, Daniel Reynolds and Matthew Shevlin.

Stephen Fallon hit the bar before Andrew Waterworth made it 7-0, heading home from a Kirk Millar cross.

Again, there were more attacking options for Linfield. If Waterworth didn’t get the header, Matthew Shevlin would have scored.

The referee took mercy on Glenavon by only playing five seconds of injury time.

Results elsewhere mean that Linfield have now moved up to 4th.

It was always going to take a while to climb the table, but with teams above us playing each other over coming weeks, Linfield knew if they kept winning, ground would be made up.

When Linfield face Cliftonville, they knew they would end the day no higher than 9th even if they won. Each matchday, Linfield have climbed, 9th to 8th to 5th to 4th.

If results go their way next weekend, they could be 2nd. They’ll be at least 3rd if they get three points on Friday night.

That match, is away to Crusaders, live on BBC Two. It’s a match that has 0-0 written all over it to be honest, after both teams went goal crazy on Saturday.

The difference is, Crusaders aren’t keeping them out at the other end, conceding eight goals in their last three League matches, against Glenavon, Coleraine and Glentoran.

Linfield can exploit that. There is nothing to feat. Let them worry about us, and we have a lot that will worry them.

A curious fact about this game, was that I saw a cat loitering at the South Stand entrance as I entered the ground. The only time I’ve seen a cat at a Linfield match was when one ran onto the pitch during the game at Warrenpoint last season.

I’ve not suggesting there’s a correlation between cats in the ground and heavy wins, but feel free to bring a cat to Seaview to test the theory out.

As an addendum to the Carrick blog, I’ve actually read up on the European Conference League. It sounds shit to be honest.

Talking of shit competitions, the UEFA Nations League has been restructured, meaning Northern Ireland are in League B instead of League C. It’s still a reward for mediocrity.

Onto Seaview, for a game that won’t make or break Linfield’s season, but it will be nice to issue a statement of intent early on.

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : FOOTBALL ITALIA – NOVEMBER 1997

To Russia With Love is the headline of this edition of Football Italia. It’s nothing to do with James Bond, but the fact that Italy will be facing a World Cup Play-Off against Russia after a 0-0 draw with England.

There are two England players celebrating on the cover – Serie A old boys Paul Ince and Paul Gascoigne.

In news, Silvio Berlusconi has ordered AC Milan’s players to learn Italian in order to improve results on the pitch.

In reviews, there is a review of the 3rd Round of the Coppa Italia and the three European competitions, which still have Italian interest.

There is a ten page review of the World Cup Qualifier between Italy and England, which is quite impressive for a 0-0 draw.

Strike partnerships is a theme in this issue, with a look at the duos leading the line for Juventus, Sampdoria, AC Milan and Parma.

There is a look back at the opening weeks of the Serie A season, with Inter Milan being the team getting all the attention in the early weeks.

CARRICK RANGERS 0-3 LINFIELD 23.9.2019

This was not a night for football. This was a night for putting your feet up in front of the TV. Ironic, for a match that was broadcast live on TV.

When this game was announced for live broadcast, Linfield were hoping that this game being on a Monday night would give them extra recovery time from their opening UEFA Cup group match (I promise, that will be my last mention of the UEFA Cup until I go to see United v Partizan Belgrade in November) but instead, they were recovering from a League Cup tie at Ballinamallard.

They needed it too. A long trip and extra-time. I think Sky did Linfield a favour by pushing this game back to Monday night.

Not that I was thinking that when I was getting drenched. As soon as I saw how lovely the weather was, I knew it was going to chuck it down when this match started.

Linfield’s starting eleven saw two injury enforced changes from their last League match, with Jamie Mulgrew being replaced by Stephen Fallon and Chris Casement was replaced by Ryan McGivern, forcing Linfield to line-up in a 3-5-2 formation.

A bit surprising, as Andrew Mitchell, on the bench could have slotted in at right-back, or Trai Hume, another substitute, could have started, meaning there would be no need for a tactical reshuffle.

Linfield struggled at times in the first-half due to the inclement weather. We got a taste of that in the opening ten seconds when Jimmy Callacher misjudged a header back to Rohan Ferguson at the cost of a soft corner.

If it was more central, it would have been 1-0 to Carrick.

The danger wasn’t cleared yet, and from the resulting corner, Rohan Ferguson missed it, and was relieved to see Daniel Kelly head over.

Within a minute, Linfield were rueing a missed header of their own when Mark Stafford headed wide from a few yards out. He really should have scored. From where I was stood, it looked like he did.

Stafford has a good goalscoring record against Carrick, but only at Windsor Park. He was still looking for his first goal at Taylor’s Avenue.

Carrick were encouraged by their start, especially so when Daniel Kelly had a header tipped over by Rohan Ferguson, in a game that mirrored some of my previous visits to Taylor’s Avenue.

In 2015, Carrick were giving as good as they were getting, while the weather mirrored my visit in 2018.

Linfield’s best attacking moments usually came when Joel Cooper or Shayne Lavery got on the ball. Despite that, Linfield couldn’t create any clear chances.

It was Carrick who had the best opportunity to score when a poor backpass played in Stewart Nixon, who rolled the ball into the side netting from a wide angle.

From where I was stood, it looked like he had scored. He probably should have scored.

To be honest, Linfield fans were happy to take 0-0 at half-time.

It looked like that was going to be the half-time score, until the very last seconds when Niall Quinn managed to create space and fire home low with his right foot.

Undeserved, but Linfield were happy to take it.

It mirrored Linfield’s game there in 2017, where they had to wait until injury time in the first-half to take the lead.

Although, that was the only time Linfield had managed a first-half goal at Taylor’s Avenue since Carrick were promoted in 2015.

You always felt the first goal would be key in this game. If Linfield could get it, it would deflate Carrick’s enthusiasm. At least, that was the hope.

Linfield were out to make Carrick pay for their missed opportunities in the early stages of the second-half, with both Quinn and Lavery both hitting the crossbar, while Ryan McGivern had a shot saved.

If Linfield needed a reminded that they needed a second to be sure of the points, it came when Reece Neale flashed a shot just wide.

Neale’s luck didn’t improve when he flicked a Kirk Millar free-kick into his own net to put Linfield 2-0 up.

That goal Linfield in a strong position, a header from Mark Stafford, a customary goal against Carrick made it 3-0 on 75 minutes and secured the points.

This lead gave David Healy an opportunity to rest some players and give gametime to players who haven’t had much of it this season – Andrew Mitchell, Ross Larkin and Daniel Reynolds.

The only other moment of note in the rest of the game was some magic by Joel Cooper to work himself into a shooting position when it didn’t look possible, only to hit the sidenetting from a wide position.

A two goal defeat would have dropped Linfield from 8th to 9th, but this win moved them up to 5th. They would have been 4th if it wasn’t for Glentoran’s late winner against Warrenpoint on Saturday. If they win their games in hand, they will go top, which is where they want to be.

Elsewhere on Monday night, Dundalk won the League Of Ireland, meaning they will play Linfield in the Unite The Union Cup, two more games which will have to be arranged.

Linfield have already started getting dates arranged for their three outstanding League matches, with Warrenpoint Town visiting Windsor Park on Tuesday 22nd October. A handy double for me, as i’ll be heading to OMD the following night.

Last week, Easyjet released their Summer 2020 flights. I’d hoped to jump in and nab a brgain weekend in London for The 12th, to be there for the Euro 2020 Final.

£150 just to get on a plane. That’s before my luggage and hotel.

Looks like i’ll have to have a Plan B for that weekend. Feel free to hit me up with ideas.

Talking of European football, the 2021 European Super Cup Final will be at Windsor Park. Really want to go to this having been to the 2014 Final in Cardiff.

No pressure on Ole and David.

Meanwhile, UEFA have announced a third club competition called the Europa Conference League. Good idea, but an awful name.

I’ll wait to see what the qualifying criteria and format of the competition is before making a full analysis.

Up next for Linfield is a home match against Glenavon.

It’s not a fixture that has been kind to Linfield recently. No wins or goals in the last three meetings. No wins in the last four at home, and failed to score in their last three at home.

The last time Linfield beat Glenavon at home was the day the 2017 General Election was announced.

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : WHEN SATURDAY COMES – NOVEMBER 2011

A Glum looking Carlos Tevez is the cover star of this week’s edition of When Saturday Comes, with a thought bubble stating that he won’t play with players who are only there for the money. A few weeks earlier, he had refused to come on as a substitute for Manchester City against Bayern Munich.

There is a look at Sion, expelled from the UEFA Cup but a pursuing the matter through the courts.

Brazil had recently played Ghana in a friendly at Craven Cottage, which saw a crush outside the ground of supporters trying to get in, with WSC looking at the events of that night.

In Scotland, it is reported that Rangers were on the verge of going bankrupt, a story which dominated Scottish football throughout 2012, which resulted in Rangers getting relegated to the fourth tier.

Truro City get a profile, currently in the Conference South, but with ambitions of being the first Cornish club to play in the Football League.

There is a photo feature of Birmingham City’s UEFA Cup tie against Braga, the first time in 50 years that European football had come to St Andrew’s.

Garry Cook had recently left Manchester City, and WSC looks at his successes at the City Of Manchester Stadium, to balance out the criticism he received over the manner of his departure, mocking the mother of one of City’s players.

The global appeal of English football is looked at, looking at Norwich City supporters across the world.

WSC also looks locally, wondering why it is considered a risk for English clubs to sign players from the lower leagues.

Talking of local issues, WSC looks at Hartlepool United, who are coming to terms with the fact they don’t have a local derby rival.

Match of the Month is the Conference clash between Gateshead and Cambridge United.

There is a look at the recent trend of clubs offering fans refunds after bad away results, asking if it is the right thing to do.

On a season long loan to Lille, there is a look at Joe Cole as he begins life in France.

There is a look back at George Best’s brief spell at Cork Celtic in 1975.

Socrates gets a profile after a spell in hospital due to Liver problems. He died the following month.

LINFIELD 1-0 GLENTORAN 14.9.2019

Linfield warmed up for their opening UEFA Cup group match with a ………… ah, if only.

It’s now a case of back to reality and domestic action, and it’s been a satisfactory first week back, with three points away to Cliftonville, and a County Antrim Shield win over East Belfast.

That win over East Belfast especially pleasing, as some players who aren’t regular starters got game time, and some players got debuts.

Matthew Shevlin got a first start and goal, and Andrew Waterworth got a goal as well, and kept his place in the starting eleven, with nobody have to make way for Shayne Lavery, as an injury to Daniel Kearns enabled him to go back into the eleven.

Injuries to Kearns and Jordan Stewart meant that Linfield were a bit light when it came to attacking midfield options from the bench. Those injuries presented an opportunity for Daniel Reynolds, another goalscorer from the midweek Shield match.

It was Linfield who had the better of the opening minutes, with Shayne Lavery flicking wide from a Joel Cooper cross.

Lavery was then played in but looked too wide to score. His cross/shot flashed across the Glentoran six yard box, Kirk Millar unable to keep up with his run and get on the end of it.

There was no doubt that Linfield were up for this game, but they couldn’t get an early goal.

Although, early goals have never been a good thing for Linfield in this fixture in recent year, it still would have been welcomed.

Having ridden out that spell of Linfield pressure, Glentoran were able to spend some time in Linfield’s half, in front of the biggest exodus from East Belfast to South Belfast outside of Boxing Day for a while.

There weren’t any moments of worry for Linfield. I say that, but any time Glentoran have the ball in Linfield’s half, even if they are well away from goal, I naturally become nervous. It’s just the way I am.

After a strong start, the afternoon didn’t really happen for Joel Cooper, not getting much joy when taking on his opposing full-back.

Linfield’s next big chance gave when Bastien Hery headed over from close range. I don’t think he realised that Glentoran keeper Marijan Antolovic was hopelessly out of position.

Antolovic doesn’t need any vaccinations, because he never caught anything, keeping Linfield attacks alive longer than they should have been.

His lack of willingness to catch crosses or hold on to shots always gave Linfield hope that they could force an error out of him.

Glentoran’s shots on goal in the first-half were long range shots from Robbie McDaid and Joe Crowe which looked a lot closer than they were as I was sat at the opposite end.

By this point, Crowe was on a yellow card, having picked up a card for a cynical foul on Shayne Lavery as he raced towards goal.

Linfield’s only other attacking moments of note in the first-half was a long range shot from Andrew Waterworth which went over, as the ball set up, he was fancying a repeat of his goal at The Oval in 2016, and a cross which just evaded Mark Stafford who would have scored if he could get on the end of it.

0-0 at half-time but no need to panic. If Linfield could keep creating chances, surely one would go in. And if they can’t create chances, there was always the possibility that Glentoran’s keeper might gift them one.

As half-time scores filtered through, they were all going Linfield’s way, with Crusaders and Coleraine both drawing their matches. It didn’t matter if other results were going for or against Linfield, they still had to help themselves.

However, if Coleraine and/or Crusaders did fail to win, and Linfield took advantage, they would be finishing the day no higher than 9th, as the full-time whistle was blowing in the 2pm kick-off at The Brandywell, where Larne had just beaten Institute 4-1.

The second-half was very nervous, with neither team creating a clear cut opportunity.

With each passing minute, it was clear how important the first goal was going to be, if there was one. This match was not going to finish 1-1. It would either be 0-0, or somebody would sneak it 1-0.

Despite this, David Healy was reluctant to use any of the options on the bench.

One of those options was Matthew Shevlin, who had a decent cameo off the bench at Solitude the previous week, another was to bring on Matthew Clarke and push Niall Quinn forward.

However, it was Stephen Fallon who came on for Andrew Waterworth, just minutes after Robbie McDaid hit the bar for Glentoran.

On 86 minutes, it was Linfield who got the breakthrough when Bastien Hery instigated a move which saw Mark Stafford play the ball to Kirk Millar in space, not a lot, but enough to set himself up to get a shot at goal, which went in via a deflection.

The celebrations amongst the home fans showed how important a goal it was. Not just in the match, but in the title race, with Linfield having to come back from a ten point deficit and not being able to afford any dropped points.

It was such a big goal, David Healy joined in the celebrations, running faster than he had ever run as a player.

Having spent 86 minutes trying to get in front, it was important now for Linfield to stay in front in what time remained. They did that, Glentoran never having any opportunity to get an equaliser.

Even though Linfield didn’t move up the table or get any closer to the top, it was still a big win, as the draw between Ballymena United and Coleraine, and defeats for Dungannon Swifts and Glentoran mean that Linfield could jump up to 4th if results go their way on the next matchday.

They’ll have to wait two days for any such opportunity, with the trip to Carrick Rangers being selected for live coverage on Sky Sports.

Talking of results going their way, it could have been so much better if Glenavon hadn’t missed a last minute penalty to equalise against Crusaders. We can’t really complain about Glenavon being useless, we’ve benefitted from it plenty of times in the past. Let’s hope they stay useless for the next two weeks.

I dare say, Crusaders are probably more disappointed about Linfield’s late win than Linfield are about Crusaders late escape.

You could pick holes in Crusaders start by pointing out that four of their opening six games have come against the bottom four.

Before Carrick, is a NIFL Cup trip to Ballinamallard for Linfield as a busy period of fixtures get underway.

That run of games might not include any UEFA Cup Group Stage matches, but there’s still enough to keep minds occupied and focused.

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