PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August began for me with the opening game of the 2018-2019 season, as Linfield travelled to Mourneview Park to take on Glenavon.

My next match was in the Scottish Challenge Cup, taking in Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers during a short break to Edinburgh.

Upon my return, it was back to Irish League football for me, with successive trips to North Belfast for Linfield, against Crusaders and Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

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EDINBURGH CITY 3-1 ALBION ROVERS 14.8.2018

Linfield might not be in the Irn Bru Cup this season, but that didn’t stop me taking in a game in this season’s competition.

As you will know, I like to visit Edinburgh every August. It’s not a football trip, but it would be rude not to take in a match while i’m there.

I was visiting Monday to Friday, but there were midweek matches on offer for me, as this was the week of the 1st Round of the Irn Bru Cup.

There was also European football the week I was there. Unfortunately, Hibs were away to Molde on Thursday.

Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh, so if Rangers were at home, that would be handy if I wanted to go to it. They were away on the Thursday night.

If, for some reason, I wanted to watch Celtic, guess what? They were away too.

So, all I had was the Irn Bru Cup. There are a lot of towns with football teams commutable to Edinburgh, so my options wouldn’t be limited to the capital.

My options were Cowdenbeath v East Fife and Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers, while Hearts Under 20s were also at home, but that was never going to be considered.

I went with this game as it was a ground I have been to, having been there twice in the space of four weeks last Summer, taking in Edinburgh City’s game against Montrose while at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returning in early September for Linfield’s Irn Bru Cup game against Spartans.

If you don’t already know, Edinburgh City groundshare with Spartans.

There was also the bonus that this game was half price admission if you had a Fringe ticket.

And, the bar was open pre-match, so I had a nosey around. There was a canvass print on the wall of Rod Stewart when he visited the ground, while somebody else killed time by watching AEK Athens v Celtic on their phone.

This ground was familiar to Albion Rovers, having lost 4-0 there in a League Two match just ten days earlier.

This could, and possibly should, have been me seeing Albion Rovers for the second successive season, as Albion eliminated Spartans from last season’s competition but fielded an unregistered player, meaning it was Spartans who hosted Linfield instead.

There were a lot of fiesty tackles going in during the early minutes, but it was Edinburgh City who came closest to scoring when a speculative effort hit the top of the bar.

However, it was Rovers who took the lead on 15 minutes when John Cunningham got clear and fired home, to give them a 1-0 lead they held until half-time.

As the second-half started, a Rovers fans urged his team on, yelling “COME ON ROVERS!! I’M MISSING RIVER CITY FOR THIS!!”

It didn’t have the desired effect, as City went 2-1 up with a quick double from Scott Shepherd and Blair Henderson, before Henderson clinched the game late on with a penalty.

With the game being decided on the night, I wasn’t too unhappy with the game being decided within 90 minutes.

The draw for the next round gave City and away tie against East Kilbride, who eliminated Spartans on penalties. It could easily have been an away game at their ground.

Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : SEPTEMBER

September’s football watching began for me in Edinburgh, seeing Linfield take on Spartans in the Scottish Challenge Cup. That was followed two days later with World Cup action, as Northern Ireland took on Czech Republic at Windsor Park.

After that, it was all about Irish League action, taking in Linfield’s matches against Glentoran, Crusaders, Ballinamallard and Cliftonville.

Spartans v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Cliftonville v Linfield

2017 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

September 2017 began with a road trip, and a long one at that, to Edinburgh, to see Linfield take on Spartans in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Two days later, it was another football match with an international feel, an actual international, as Northern Ireland took on Czech Republic at Windsor Park.

The following weekend was busy, taking in Ryan Adams at Ulster Hall and then Linfield’s match against Glentoran.

There was more football to follow, taking in Linfield’s matches against Crusaders and Ballinamallard.

The following weekend was football free but not photo free, as I was out capturing Culture Night, and Street Art painted as part of Hit The North.

The month ended with a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville. The less said about which, the better.

Spartans v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Czech Republic Photo Album

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Ryan Adams live at Ulster Hall

Linfield v Glentoran

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Culture Night 2017

Culture Night 2017 Photo Album

Hit The North 2017

Hit The North 2017 Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 2-0 LINFIELD 9.10.2016

Having not gone to the Edinburgh Festival this year, I wasn’t anticpating that I would be going to a football match in Scotland, but football works in mysterious ways, and I ended up going to see Linfield playing in Scotland.

Just about. If i’d headed any further South, I would have been in England, with Dumfries being less than an hour away from England, something utilised by Queen Of The South, with three of their squad being born in Carlisle.

As soon as it was announced in June that Linfield would be playing in the Scottish Challenge Cup, I let my mind stray as to possible opponents, and more importantly, a trip.

I didn’t want to play an SPL Underage team. Ideally, a senior team based in the Central Belt.

I didn’t get the Central Belt, but the next best thing, as my numerous trips to Old Trafford have taught me that Dumfries is not too far from the boat. This trip was more than doable. Another big appeal for me was the opportunity to visit another ground for the first time.

It became even more doable when Stena Line announced they were running a trip, which I had to book by phone due to their website being utterly useless.

What the tie had in geographic convenience was countered in the footballing aspect, with Queen Of The South being the highest ranked team left in the competition, currently top (and unbeaten in the league) of The Championship above Hibernian and Dundee United.

The stars were out for this match, spotting Ivan Little in the away end, and Helen Skelton was there to cheer on Queen Of The South. Her brother Gavin is the manager, another Cumbrian to go alongside those on the playing staff. It’s unknown if Calvin Harris or Bill Drummond were there to cheer on Queen Of The South.

As difficult as it was, it shouldn’t have been daunting for Linfield, with six of the starting line-up having played senior professional football, and four of them (Andrew Waterworth, Chris Casement, Roy Carroll and Sammy Clingan) having played professionally in Scotland.

The hosts had the first chance of the game when Stephen Dobbie cut inside and hit a shot just wide of the post. Lyndon Dykes had a shot saved while Steveb Rigg hit a shot over the bar.

Roy Carroll had to be alert to race out of his box to clear the danger, avoiding the fate that happened to Gigi Buffon a few days earlier when he conceded a goal against Spain.

Linfield were having to do a lot of defending, but they were managing to keep out Queen Of The South.

It was clear that Linfield were missing Paul Smyth when they got the ball forward.

Jimmy Callacher had Linfield’s first attempt on goal but his header was easily saved.

If they weren’t getting much luck in open play, Roy Carroll’s catching made sure Queen Of the South were getting no joy from crosses.

Carroll was then forced into a double save from Dobbie and Rigg, the second of which was Jim Montgomery-esque.

Linfield got more into the game as the half neared it’s end, and had their best chance when Andrew Waterworth scuffed wide when he would have scored if he got the shot on target.

With chances so sparse for Linfield, they had to be taken.

Andy Dowie headed wide in the second-half while Roy Carroll was forced into a couple of saves when Queens players were through on goal.

The thing that was standing out was that Queen Of The South players were far more physically stronger than their Linfield counterparts, using their strength to begin or stop attacks.

Kirk Millar had a chance to win it for Linfield, but he couldn’t compose a shot and fired over.

0-0 after 90 minutes, the match went to extra-time, with no replays in this competition.

It was Queen Of The South who took the lead when Lyndon Dykes was played through, got enough space to go around Carroll and slot the ball into the empty net.

A stunning free-kick from Stephen Dobbie in the second-half of extra-time killed the game.

Queen Of The South threatened a third on the counter attack, a 3-0 scoreline would have been harsh.

It was a deserved win for Queen Of The South, but Linfield held their own. The first goal was always going to be crucial. Queens got it, and went on to win the game.

Having had a taste of it, hopefully Linfield can reach this competition again and have another trip to Scotland. Ayrshire, Stranraer, Galloway. All very convenient. Central Belt even.

I’ve checked, and Scotland aren’t at home on the weekend it would be played on next season, denying the idea of a double or even triple header weekend.

Back to domestic action now, a busy month awaits. Four league wins will see Linfield finish it on top of the league.

Photo Album

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : OCTOBER

October wasn’t the most productive of months.

The only worthwhiles football photos I have came from Linfield’s visit to Coleraine (and a portrait shot of Windsor Park at the match v Cliftonville the week before) at the start of the month. Not a classic month of phototaking.

Enjoy

Coleraine v Linfield