PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : NOVEMBER

November got off to a dramatic start, as I headed to Mourneview Park to see nine man Linfield come from 2-0 down to get a late draw against Glenavon.

I was back on the road a few days later to Ballymena to see Linfield record a 4-1 in win.

Up next was a trip to Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland record a 4-0 win over Azerbaijan, before continuing Linfield’s road trip with a 4-0 over Dungannon Swifts before a midweek date at Windsor Park for Northern Ireland’s last game of 2016, a 3-0 friendly defeat against Croatia.

I was back at Windsor Park for Linfield’s only home game of the month, a 2-1 defeat to Cliftonville.

The following weekend, I went to see my first and second games at Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho as United manager, doing a double header of games against Feyenoord and West Ham United, with a trip to Bury (via Broadhurst Park) sandwiched inbetween.

As a bonus, I even got pictures of stickers left around Manchester by Feyenoord fans.

Glenavon v Linfield

Ballymena United v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan

Northern Ireland v Azerbaijan Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Croatia

Northern Ireland v Croatia Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Manchester United v Feyenoord

Manchester United v Feyenoord Photo Album

Feyenoord Stickers

Bury v Millwall

Bury v Millwall Photo Album

Broadhurst Park

Manchester United v West Ham United

Manchester United v West Ham United Photo Album

BURY 2-3 MILLWALL 26.11.2016

AKA …….. Two postponements in one day.

Taking in two United matches and having a spare Saturday afternoon in the North-West of England, that could only have meant one thing ……. to go and see in another local game while I was there, ideally at a ground i’ve never been to before.

I had a look at the fixture lists and one game stood out, Oldham v Peterborough. It was mainly due to both clubs having a Northern Ireland connnection.

Both managers (Steven Robinson and Grant McCann) are former Northern Ireland players, with Robinson being part of the coaching staff at Euro 2016.

On the playing staff, there were Northern Ireland players who began their careers with Irish League clubs, Oldham boasting Cameron Dummigan (Cliftonville), Ryan McLaughlin (Glenavon), Carl Winchester (Linfield) as well as Billy McKay (never played for an Irish League club).

Peterborough count boast Michael Smith (Ballyclare Comrades and Ballymena United) but not Joe Gormley (Cliftonville) who is out on loan to St Johnstone.

And as a bonus, tickets were being offered at a discount. I think we have a winner here folks.

I headed to Boundary Park around lunchtime, the plan being to get some lunch near the ground, I had a check on my phone to see if the game was still on.

Manchester was frosty on the Saturday morning, so a postponement was a possibility. The game was on when I boarded the tram at Victoria, but off when I checked Twitter upon getting off in Oldham.

So a change of plan then.

As a side note, the game has been rearranged for Tuesday 24th January 2017. Frustratingly, i’m in Manchester for the Hull City game (League match, not the League Cup Semi-Final) the following week.

When getting the tram, there were a couple of FC United fans who got on and disembarked at Moston/Newton Heath.

I knew their ground is in Moston, having visited it when it was still a work in progress when I was over for a match in November 2014.

FC United were at home in the FA Trophy, and it’s on the Metrolink route back to the City Centre. Well, I might as well head to Broadhurst Park.

Broadhurst Park is a ground I have noted that I want to visit, so I might as well make the most of this opportunity.

I arrived and checked and followed the directions on the club’s website, and checked Twitter to see if the game was still on. It was, but only just, as there was a pitch inspection pending.

So, I waited outside the ground for confirmation that the game was on before entering. Just after 2pm, I saw supporters leaving the ground and steward shouting “MATCH OFF!! MATCH OFF!!”, confirming what I was already suspecting.

There wasn’t a lot of football in the North West that day.

By this point, I was determined to see some football. So, I decided to brave negotiating the Metrolink to get to Bury for their match against Millwall, getting a taxi from the station to the ground for a fiver (you can barely get down the street for a fiver in Belfast) and only missing the first five minutes.

In the early months of the season, this looked like it would be a top of the table clash, but a run of nine successive defeats (fourteen without a win in all competitions, two draws and twelve defeats) saw Bury hover just above the relegation zone and manager David Flitcroft leave the club, while Millwall were in a traffic jam of clubs outside the play-offs.

And despite not getting to Boundary Park, there would be some Northern Ireland interest in the game in the shape of Shane Ferguson, who was involved in most of Millwall’s attacks in the first-half.

One of those attacks saw a mid air collision result in what looked like a Bury free-kick. As the game was stopped, I decided to check Irish League scores on my phone. I was surprised to hear howls of derision from the crowd as the referee awarded a penalty to Millwall.

Not quite, as the referee consulted with the linesman, and he reversed the decision to applause from the Bury fans. Football fans can be so fickle.

Neither side were on top in the first-half with no real attacking threat. Bury’s cause wasn’t helped by poor decision making when on the attack.

Just after the hour, Bury took the lead when a James Vaughan header hit the bar and went in off the keeper after hitting the bar. Finally, a break for Bury.

Bury were now on the up, and soon made it 2-0 when Vaughan was played through, and showed the type of finish that saw him playing in the Premier League at 16.

It was all going well Bury, too well, and they were brought back down to earth when Niall Maher handled a goalbound shot on the line, with the double whammy of a penalty and a red card.

The penalty was converted by Shaun Williams, prompting an inevitable melee in the goalmouth as Milwall players tried to grab the ball to restart the game, the referee booking a player from each side at the end of it.

The game had now changed and the impetus was with Millwall, who were applying all the pressure while Bury were defending.

The inevitable equaliser came when Callum Butcher headed home from a corner on 85 minutes. Bury were dead on their feet. Supporters around me had seen enough and headed for the exits.

There was still time for a winner, and Millwall knew it. They got it in injury time when Aiden O’Brien got on the end of a cross. Like the equaliser a few minutes earlier, there was an exodus around me, but greater in numbers this time.

A rather entertaining game that made it worthwhile making the dash from not one, but two postponed matches.

Broadhurst Park

Photo Album

2014 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February was busy, it usually is, as it usually involves a weekend away somewhere. In 2013 it was London. In 2014, it was, um, London.

But first, the month began with a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

The following weekend, I was London bound for a short break. I’d went there in 2013 and had a great time, but there was still so much I wanted to do and see.

I’d wanted to do the Street Art Tour when I was there. Unfortunately, delays on The Tube meant I missed out. However, I kept stumbling across stuff and managed to get some nice photos by accident, including murals of David Bowie and John Lennon.

While I was in London, I did some football watching, going to see Leyton Orient take on Peterborough, then going to see Tottenham take on Everton the next day

The following Saturday, back in Belfast, heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballinamallard, on the day David Jeffrey announced he’d be standing down as manager at the end of the season.

Two days later, I was at the Ulster Hall to see The 1975 in concert before ending that week with a trip to The Oval to see Linfield beat Glentoran 1-0 in a televised game.

Cliftonville v Linfield

London Street Art

London Street Art Photo Album Volume 1

London Street Art Photo Album Volume 2

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United Photo Album

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

The 1975 Live At Ulster Hall

The 1975 Live At Ulster Hall Photo Album

Glentoran v Linfield

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON – FEBRUARY

February began for me at Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville. Linfield didn’t capitulate as usual, but still managed to lose, as usual.

Usual arrangements for taking photos at Solitude

The following weekend, I was on my travels, to London, for a short break. Unsurprisingly, football watching was amongst my plans.

I had plenty of games to choose from on the Saturday, but I plumped for Leyton Orient v Peterborough United, as it was a top of the table clash in League One.

Brisbane Road is a nice stadium, but where I was wasn’t good for photos. The game itself finished 2-1 to Peterborough with two late goals.

The next day, I managed to get a ticket for Spurs v Everton at White Hart Lane. It wasn’t the best of views of a game which Everton dominated but Spurs won because they knew where the net was.

The following Saturday, I headed to Windsor Park, with the news just breaking that David Jeffrey was to leave the club at the end of the season.

It was events on the pitch that were to grab as many headlines as Linfield won 6-0

The following weekend, was David Jeffrey’s final visit to The Oval as Linfield manager. It was an awful game, but Linfield won, which was the main thing.

On the Monday after that game, I was at Windsor Park for the rearranged game between Linfield and Glenavon, which Linfield won 2-1.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United

Leyton Orient v Peterborough United Photo Album

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton Photo Album

Linfield v Ballinamallard United

Glentoran v Linfield

LEYTON ORIENT 1-2 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 8.2.2014

Was in London last weekend. While there, I decided to take in a game. The game I chose for the Saturday, was Leyton Orient v Peterborough.

Even though it was in the Third Tier, it was the most appealing game on offer. Before going, I narrowed down my choice to either Brentford or Leyton Orient. I chose Orient for the simple reason that they were easier to get to. As it turned out, Brentford’s game was postponed.

This game was a promotion battle, with Orient starting the day 3rd, and Peterborough 7th, both wanting promotion, with Orient aiming automatically, Peterborough via the play-offs.

The stadium was easy to get to from The Tube, and I managed to get a ticket no problem. I was a bit surprised by this, considering it was a top of the table clash.

My ticket was for the South Stand, behind the goal. If you’ve seen a game at Brisbane Road, it’s to the right of the TV screen.

If I go to Orient again, i’d prefer to go to the other end behind the goal. The view wasn’t bad, but you were too far from the pitch for my liking.

The weather all day was going from one extreme to the other, either rain or sunshine. There was a Double Rainbow over the stadium pre-match.

Managed to kill some time in the pub underneath the stand, which is no doubt convenient for Orient supporters.

In the first-half, both teams cancelled each other out. Orient had the best chance when a volley hit the post. Such was their luck, the rebound hit their attacker straight on the hand before he could get a chance to put the ball in.

In the second-half, with Peterborough attacking the South Stand, Orient fans were more than happy to mock Peterborough’s attacking mistakes. The favourite being “All that money and you’re shit”

With 20 minutes to go, Orient took the lead, with a header from a free-kick. Their fans were now in a party mood. Postponements for Brentford and Wolves meant a win would take them top.

With each passing minute, Orient fans started to sing “WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE” – It was asking for trouble. Out of nowhere, Peterborough got an equaliser with a free header from a set piece on 87 minutes.

Brisbane Road was stunned. Soon after, they were stunned again when Peterborough scored a winner on 89 minutes.

An enjoyable game with a dramatic finish. A massive improvement on my last three games in London, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1.

Photo Album