PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – JANUARY

A new year, but same old football related photo adventures.

Thankfully, a home game to see in the new year (didn’t really fancy the 212 on New Year’s Day) against Institute, and a 3-0 win for Linfield.

My first Saturday game of the year saw me visit a new ground for the first time. The less said about Linfield’s trip to QUB, the better.

Things got a bit better on the pitch, the weather less so, as I headed to Solitude nine days later in the middle of Storm Brendan to see Linfield go top of the League with a 2-1 win against Cliftonville.

Linfield’s inconsistent form continued with a 0-0 draw at home to Dungannon Swifts the following Saturday.

The following midweek saw my first football trip of the year, to Old Trafford to see United lose to Burnley.

While I was there, I was able to take in another match, Salford City v Accrington Stanley in the EFL Trophy, which meant I was able to visit another new ground for the first time, the second of the month.

The following Saturday, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield hammer Glenavon 8-1.

That was then followed by a trip to Larne the following midweek, my first visit to Inver Park since 2005, to see Linfield lose 3-1.

Linfield v Institute

Queen’s University v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Salford City v Accrington Stanley

Salford City v Accrington Stanley Photo Album

Manchester United v Burnley

Manchester United v Burnley Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Larne v Linfield

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

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – SEPTEMBER

It took a week for September’s football watching to start, with a trip to Solitude to see Linfield beat Cliftonville on their return to domestic action after their European exploits.

That was followed 48 hours later (well, 52 hours and 44 minutes later, to be precise) with a trip to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Germany in a Euro 2020 Qualifier.

It was Windsor Park again the following Saturday to see Linfield beat Glentoran, before a nine day wait to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers on a wet Monday night live on TV.

The month ended with a goalfest, as Linfield hammered Glenavon 7-0.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

LINFIELD 8-1 GLENAVON 25.1.2020

Better, Much much better.

After a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Dungannon Swifts the previous Saturday, Linfield responded with an 8-1 win over Glenavon.

Going into this match, Glenavon had won three of the previous four meetings with Linfield, including a 4-0 win. The aggregate score over those four games? 7-7. That is absolute Peak Glenavon.

Linfield began with the starting eleven that should have started the previous week, though they would be making one change regardless of the formation, as Andrew Mitchell being sold to Larne.

For me, that is a mistake that I fear will be very costly.

Mitchell’s place in the starting eleven was taken by Kirk Millar, as Linfield reverted to 4-2-3-1 that served them so well last season.

Inside the first ten seconds of this game, we saw an improvement from Linfield, straight on the attack deep in Glenavon’s half, and demanding that Ballboys get the ball so they can restart the game, not giving Glenavon any chance to get comfortable when defending.

It didn’t take long for Linfield to take the lead from a counter attack. I was screaming for the ball to go left, it went right, to Shayne Lavery, an attempt interception from a Glenavon defender fell perfectly for Stephen Fallon to put Linfield 1-0 up inside five minutes.

You could say there was an element of luck to the goal, but if Fallon doesn’t make the run, he doesn’t get the goal. Linfield had the start their needed.

They were in search of a second goal as soon as they got their first, and almost got it, but Ethan Boyle missed a headed opportunity.

Calum Birney was lucky not to see a red card after a wild and reckless tackle on Josh Robinson. Birney, who has had previous red cards against Linfield in the past, was lucky not to add to his tally.

Within a few minutes, it was Glenavon who were moaning at the Referee when Linfield were awarded a penalty for a foul on Stephen Fallon.

I was sat at that end, and the foul was on the line, but not inside the box.

Who was going to take it? That was the big question.

Andrew Mitchell took Linfield’s last penalty, against Cliftonville earlier in the month, but he has since been sold.

Andrew Waterworth wasn’t on the pitch. Jordan Stewart, Shayne Lavery and Joel Cooper all missed their last penalties.

It turned out to be Kirk Millar. I wasn’t exactly full of confidence that the ball would be hitting the back of the net, especially with the refereeing decision being so generous.

I don’t know why I was worried, as Kirk Millar fired it home to make it 2-0 and give Linfield a significant lead.

Within minutes, that lead got bigger as Joel Cooper cut inside and curled the ball in to make it 3-0.

Just like in the 7-0 win over Glenavon in September, Linfield had an early 3-0 lead, and there was a serious danger that this match could go the same way.

That became even more of a possibility when Robert Garrett got sent-off for something he said to the Referee. Linfield fans will have been used to seeing Garrett getting sent-off, six times across his two spells at the club. However, this time, they weren’t unhappy to see it.

Having scored a hat-trick when the sides met in September, Shayne Lavery wanted in on the act, and did when when he headed home from a corner to make it 4-0.

Soon after, it was 5-0 when a run from Joel Cooper saw his pull back to Matthew Clarke to finish from close range. Glenavon claimed the ball went out before Cooper pulled it back. To be honest, it happened too quick for me to see, and TV replays were inconclusive.

The first-half wasn’t all perfect for Linfield, as Glenavon split Linfield’s defence open for the first time, and were awarded a penalty when Ethan Boyle fouled a Glenavon player after a coming together.

The narrative, should have been that Sammy Clingan would miss it, but he made no mistake to make it 5-1 and start the comeback for Glenavon.

Jordan Stewart had an effort saved in the final minutes of the half as Linfield had to make do with just the five goals in the first-half.

Even someone as cautious as me knew the points were in the bag. It’s a great feeling watching a football match, midway through the first and knowing that the points are in the bag,

Linfield were in a privileged position. You don’t often get to choose how much you win a football match by, but Linfield could. With goal difference as tight as points, they could substantially add to their tally.

With the points in the bag, Linfield could also make the substitutions they wanted. Niall Quinn made a welcome to the match day squad after injury and could be eased in. Kyle McClean needed games as well after signing, while it would be a perfect opportunity to introduce new loan signing Rory Currie.

Shayne Lavery got in behind Glenavon’s defence, initially believing he was offside, before bursting through when he realised he wasn’t, only to see his shot saved.

There wasn’t long to wait for another goal, with Jordan Stewart scoring a penalty after a handball was awarded. For a while after that decision, Glenavon players lost their discipline in spectacular fashion.

Unfortunately, that resulted in Jamie Mulgrew leaving the game early after a late tackle from a Glenavon player, with Kyle McClean, who would have been expected to come on anyway, coming on earlier than expected.

Linfield fans were hoping that Mulgrew’s exit was only a precaution. As it turned out, it was an injury that would keep him out of the match against Larne the following Tuesday.

The Glenavon player in question got booked. Not for the foul, but for booting the ball at a team mate’s balls.

Glenavon’s lack of discipline was such, that Andrew Doyle, already on a yellow card, had to be substituted to stop him from getting a second yellow he was only minutes away from getting.

Linfield used their substantial lead to introduce two substitutes, two not unexpected substitutions, as Niall Quinn and Kyle McClean joined the action.

Joel Cooper then cut inside and fired home to make it 7-1, Linfield scoring seven for the third time this season.

With two goals to his name, it was surprising later on when Cooper burst clear only to pass to Kyle McClean who dithered and saw the opportunity to go begging.

To be fair, passing to McClean was the best option, but with a hat-trick for the taking, he was entitled to shoot.

In the game between the sides in September, the Referee took pity on Glenavon by only playing seconds of injury time. In this match, we got two minutes.

As the clock hit 91:30, Linfield went on the counter attack, just 30 seconds to score a goal.

Joel Cooper was played through, a hat-trick awaiting him, he surprisingly set up Jimmy Callacher who was running through to make it 8-1 with the final kick of the game.

A satisfactory afternoon for Linfield, with results elsewhere being a mixed bag.

Crusaders were drawing 0-0 with Ballymena United at half-time but ended up winning 2-1. In the teatime game, Larne beat Glentoran 2-1, a result that was greatfully received by Linfield fans as they tucked into their dinners.

The Monday night game saw Coleraine beat Cliftonville 1-0. A draw would have been perfect, but you could live with their being a winner.

That combination of results meant Linfield had the opportunity to go top of the League when they would play the first of their two games in hand.

Due to being busy and having a backlog of articles to write, I didn’t get this published in time before the trip to Larne.

Spoiler Alert – This match did not kickstart Linfield’s season.

Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November 2019 began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield get a win over Carrick Rangers.

A few days later, I made my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, to see United beat Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Cup.

While I was there, I got photos of Street Art in Manchester, and then visit to Rochdale in search of Street Art, after there was a festival held there in August.

The following weekend, I headed to The Brandywell to see Linfield take on Institute. While I was there, I was able to get some photos (from a fence outside) of Institute’s abandoned former stadium, Drumahoe.

Later that day, on my return from the North-West, I took in a second football match, Northern Ireland’s European Championship Qualifier against Holland.

Six days later, I was on the road again, to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Glenavon.

A few days later, I headed to Vilnius in Lithuania for a very short, very cheap and very cold break. Unsurprisingly, I was out snapping with my camera.

On the last day of the month, I got up early and walked up Cavehill, my first time doing so. Later that day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield face Larne.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade Photo Album

Rochdale Uprising

Rochdale Uprising Photo Album

Drumahoe

Drumahoe Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Holland

Northern Ireland v Holland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Vilnius

Vilnius Photo Album

Vilnius Street Art

Vilnius Street Art Photo Album

Cavehill

Cavehill Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

2019 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

My first photo adventure of September 2019 was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield get a 1-0 win on their return to domestic competition after their European adventures the previous month.

That was then followed by a Windsor Park double header, taking in Northern Ireland v Germany and Linfield v Glentoran.

The day after that match saw me have an adventure, taking in some Street Art in Belfast, and Edwyn Collins doing an instore gig at Strange Victory.

My next adventure came the following Friday with Culture Night.

It was then two football matches, seeing Linfield get wins over Carrick Rangers and Glenavon.

The month ended with a trip to Yorkgate to check out a new mural.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

Ulster Sports Club Street Art

Ulster Sports Club Street Art Photo Album

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory Photo Album

Culture Night

Culture Night Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Yorkgate Street Art

Yorkgate Street Art Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – APRIL

April 2019 began for me with a trip to Ballymena to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 1-0 to all but secure the Irish League title.

The next day, I made the most of a football free Saturday by heading to East Belfast to get some photos of some newly painted Street Art.

The following Saturday, I was back on the football trail, seeing Linfield secure the point they needed, against Crusaders, to become Champions.

The week after, came the trophy presentation, following a forgettable 4-0 defeat against Glenavon.

My last Linfield game of the season was a lot better, a 5-1 win over Cliftonville on Easter Tuesday.

April ended with a trip to Lisburn to Island Arts Centre for an art event where murals were painted live.

Ballymena United v Linfield

East Belfast Street Art

East Belfast Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders

Linfield Title Celebrations

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield Title Presentations

Linfield v Cliftonville

Lisburn Street Art

Lisburn Street Art Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began with a first concert at Elmwood Hall for me, to see KT Tunstall.

A few days later was my first football match of the month, as I travelled to Mourneview Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

The football didn’t get much better, as I headed to Seaview to see Linfield lose the County Antrim Shield Final to Crusaders.

Thankfully, things got a bit better as Linfield beat Institute 2-0.

There was a flurry of football as the month ended, with three games in four days, with Linfield’s trip to Dungannon Swifts being sandwiched inbetween Northern Ireland’s opening Euro 2020 Qualifiers, at home to Estonia and Belarus.

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Institute

Northern Ireland v Estonia

Northern Ireland v Estonia Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Belarus

Northern Ireland v Belarus Photo Album

GLENAVON 1-0 LINFIELD 22.11.2019

After a poor start to the season and a difficult run of games against Top 6 opposition, you did have a fear that Glenavon were going to get it right eventually, and it would come against Linfield. Those fears came true, as Linfield dropped three vital points in the race for the title.

The opening minutes saw Shayne Lavery get in behind Glenavon’s defence and win a ball he shouldn’t have won, but the ball went just wide.

Glenavon were fearful everytime the ball went to or near Lavery, with some justification after he scored a 14 minute hat-trick when the sides met in September.

Lavery wasn’t the only player to go close, as Mark Stafford had a header block before Joel Cooper’s effort went wide.

Cooper was getting a lot of joy in the opening minutes, and Linfield were trying to get him on the ball as much as possible.

Inbetween that, Josh Daniels had an effort tipped around for a corner, a reminder to Linfield that they needed to make the most of the early chances they were creating.

Some neat build-up play saw Shayne Lavery curl a shot just wide. It seemed like a matter of time before Linfield scored.

Of course, we all know what happened next, as a speculative effort from Robert Garrett deflected in to put Glenavon 1-0 up. Garrett was credited with the goal, but the deflection made it an own goal for me.

Garrett had given Linfield a warning a few minutes earlier when his shot from the edge of the box was saved by Rohan Ferguson, who saved the rebound from Gary Hamilton.

The make things worse, the move for Glenavon’s goal began with some possession cheaply lost by Linfield.

Linfield responded quickly, with a Bastien Hary header being flicked over by Shayne Lavery.

Having already created opportunities at 0-0, and going immediately close at 0-1, you felt that there was no way that Linfield weren’t going to score.

However, that was as good as it got in the first-half for Linfield, as Glenavon were able to go in at the break comfortably 1-0 up.

There was no need for Linfield to panic, but they really needed to step it up, and not give Glenavon any opportunity to get comfortable.

Linfield knew that if they got an early goal, they could build on it and go on to win the game. However, just getting that goal was the issue.

There was a half-time substitution for Linfield, with Andrew Waterworth coming on for Mark Stafford. It was clearly a tactical change, as if it was injury, Josh Robinson or Ryan McGivern would have come on.

Switching to 3-5-2 did mean an extra man up front, but it cam at the cost of not having a full-back to support Millar or Cooper out wide.

The early minutes of the second-half saw a lot of Linfield pressure. Kirk Millar being frustrating by firing over from a shooting position when he needed to hit the ball low.

Jimmy Callacher then had a header well saved by Jonathan Tuffey as Glenavon managed to frustrate Linfield.

Glenavon almost got one at the other end when Rohan Ferguson was forced into saves from Josh Daniels

After an early flurry, Linfield never regained that momentum as Glenavon were comfortably holding onto their lead.

Even Joel Cooper was struggling to get past his man in the second-half.

Set pieces were shocking all night, being easily cleared and never really look like they were going to do anything with the second ball, if they won it.

On a night when nothing was happening for Linfield in open play, they needed to make the most of any set piece opportunities that came their way. And a lot of them came their way, which was the most frustrating thing.

They didn’t need to get half of them right, they just needed to get one right. If they could pull it back to 1-1, if there was enough time on the clock, they could charge on to win the game in the final minutes.

3-5-2 then became 3-4-3 as Daniel Reynolds came on for Bastien Hery. If you were to take off a midfielder, it would have had to be Stephen Fallon or Jamie Mulgrew. Even though he wasn’t having the best of games, Hery was still capable of unlocking Glenavon’s defence.

He proved that by running from midfield, only to see his low shot turned around by Jonathan Tuffey.

Linfield’s bench looked bare without Jordan Stewart and Daniel Kearns. If one or both of them were available, they would have been introduced in search of an equaliser.

And so it proved, as Glenavon held out for a 1-0 win.

The closest Linfield came to scoring after their initial flurry was when a goalbound header from a Glenavon defender into his own goal hit a defender on the line.

If ever you knew that it was their night.

Even though Glenavon are better than their League position suggested, this was three points thrown away against a team who were there for the taking. An opportunity to put pressure on Cliftonville, Coleraine and Crusaders thrown away. They’ll be arriving for their games with a spring in their step.

There’s no need to panic, Linfield will only be a point off the top if they win their games in hand, but you’d rather have the points in the bag.

With three games postponed, the road to the top of the table was going to be long and difficult, but we can’t afford to keep stumbling when the summit is in sight.

The last three games have all had a similar theme, a lack of creativity and urgency. The difference in this game is that Linfield didn’t get a goal at a key time, and they gave the opposition a lead to defend.

There’s an immediate opportunity for Linfield to put it right, with a trip to Ballymena on Tuesday night, in what becomes a must win game. Well they all are, but they are especially so now.

I’ll miss that game as i’ll be on a short break in Lithuania. I’ve an early morning flight on the Wednesday and kick-off is 9.45pm local time, so I might be sleeping through it.

That might be the first Linfield match I’ve slept through, which will be impressive considering I’ve witnessed a 0-0 draw against Dungannon.

Charlie Allen wasn’t involved in this game as he was playing for the Swifts in a Steel and Sons Cup Semi-Final, which he scored in a 4-0 win.

That is the third final in four years for them, which is impressive, especially when they only play young players in the competition due to senior players being ineligible.

That means i’ll spend a month trying to decide if I want to get up early on Christmas Day to go to it.

That was Allen’s 16th birthday as well. To make you feel old, he was born on the day of the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final. Linfield scraped a 3-2 win at home to Limavady United that day. If you can remember either of those, you must be feeling really old.

I’m at the age now where I can remember the closest game to a Linfield player being born.

The newest Linfield player, Ethan Boyle, was born on the day that David Jeffrey became Manager.

Boyle will join in January alongside Kyle McClean. The signing of Boyle, a right sided defender, suggests that Mark Haughey’s return from injury isn’t going as well as planned, or that he may be loaned out in January in order to regain match fitness.

This game being moved to a Friday night meant that I wasn’t able to go to Ulster v Clermont as my one match a season.

Frustratingly, all of Ulster’s home European matches are at the same time as a Linfield match.

Sorry Egg Boys, but you’ll always lose out to Linfield.

As a result, my one Ulster match a season will be at home to Connacht on December 27th, sandwiched inbetween Linfield’s trips to Glentoran and Coleraine on the 26th and 28th.

And they say that Christmas is a time for taking it easy.

One football trip i’m not making, unless something dramatic happens is the trip to Bosnia for the Euro 2020 Play-Off Semi-Final.

The winner of that match will be at home in the Final. Already people are excited about Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland. If that is a game, I think it would be more advantageous for it to be at Lansdowne Road as playing away from home seems to suit them more.

If I was Manager of Slovakia or Bosnia, i’d be typing “Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland” into Twitter, screenshot everything, and pin it on the Dressing Room wall.

The draw for the Finals will be next Saturday, meaning that if Northern Ireland qualify, their opponents fans will have a four month head start on hotel rooms in that city.

It also means that any team qualifying from the Play-Off will only have two games maximum, unless they can squeeze a third game into the May/June friendly period to prepare, as well as two months to arrange those games. What a farce.

Thankfully, Northern Ireland weren’t screwed over by the UEFA Nations League. I feel for Slovenia who finished 4th in their group, and will sit and watch a team who finished 5th in their group play in the Play-Offs.

If Bulgaria win their Semi-Final and Final on penalties, they will qualify with only one win in ten games, and that came against a Czech Republic side who had already qualified.

International Football can take a back seat until March.

Let’s hope Linfield are in a much stronger League position by then.

Photo Album

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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