If seven was the number last week, five was the number this week.

Five goals, five games to go, and the gap at the top reduced to five points.

There was one change to Linfield’s starting eleven, with Ethan Devine coming in for Kyle Lafferty.

Linfield’s substitutes bench had some unfamiliar names on it.

Rhys Annett, recently signed from Dundela, and 15 year old Braiden Graham were the names looking to make their debuts.

The start to the match was mostly even. Dungannon had the first strike on goal just over a minute in, when Ben Cushnie dragged a shot just wide of the post.

As well as creating chances for themselves, you felt that Dungannon might accidentally create some chances for Linfield with the way they were passing it out from the back.

Linfield didn’t need any assistance from Dungannon to take the lead, they did it themselves.

The ball made it’s way to Chris McKee after a Dungannon defender challenged Ethan Devine, and he made no mistake from close range despite being under pressure from another Dungannon defender.

A good start but the points were far from in the bag, Dungannon weren’t going to give it up. More goals were needed from Linfield.

It almost came when Ethan Devine volleyed on the stretch, but the ball went agonisingly just wide of the post.

The move deserved a goal, but it wasn’t to be.

That frustration was forgotten within a minute when Devine was played in by Kirk Millar, and he made no mistake, smashing the ball through the goalkeepers legs to make it 2-0.

Not quite points in the bag, but a commanding lead.

It was going to take a spectacular comeback or capitulation for Linfield not to leave Stangmore Park with three points.

Dungannon responded with a cross/shot easily held by Chris Johns, before he was forced into a save with his legs, as Linfield were having to work to make sure they went in at half-time 2-0 up.

Which is what they did.

A satisfactory half for Linfield. A two goal lead without being dominant. Dungannon had shown enough in the first-half that they weren’t going down without a fight. Linfield needed to start the second-half strongly, and ideally get a third which would kill the game off.

To say they made sure of the points in the opening minutes of the second-half would be a bit of an understatement.

Joel Cooper got the ball out wide on the right, and drilled the ball low into the back of the net, to the shock of a lot of people.

It wasn’t quite a cross, it wasn’t quite a shot. Whatever it was, it ended up in the back of the net, and surely secured the points for Linfield.

What it also meant was that they could rest players and give others minutes, which was handy even if the next match is two weeks away.

Remember in 2020 when Linfield scored within seconds of the game restarting after conceding a goal against Dungannon?

Well, this time, they scored within seconds of the game restarting against Dungannon, except it was after one of their own goals.

An attempted interception fell perfectly to Ethan Devine who once again finished, firing through the goalkeeper to make it 4-0.

Just as you were about to say “My word, this is a jolly good start to the second-half from Linfield”, it got even better.

Kirk Millar picked up possession, cut inside and fired home from outside the box. It was the second successive season that he had scored a long range strike at Stangmore Park.

Having kicked off 2-0 up, within five minutes they were 5-0 up. If Linfield kept this ratio up, they would win this 29-0.

That would be a nice boost to the goal difference.

In all seriousness, this and the win against Newry had wiped out Larne’s advantage over Linfield in this regard, and the combination of results where the title would be decided by this would only see Linfield get a further boost.

Jimmy Callacher had a chance to make it six when a flick on from a corner fell to him, but he got his feet all wrong and the ball went well wide.

Thankfully, it wasn’t costly.

Kirk Millar was next to be frustrated as he was played in but his effort hit the post.

With the points long in the bag, Linfield made some substitutions. One of those coming on was 15 year old Braiden Graham.

Jamie Mulgrew was in his third season as a Linfield player when he was born.

Even though he now wasn’t many saves to make, Chris Johns was still keeping himself busy stopping soft throw-ins and corners being conceded. He was desperate for a sixth successive clean sheet.

He would be leaving the pitch with a clean sheet, as it finished 5-0.

The following day, Larne drew 0-0 away to Coleraine, meaning their lead at the top was cut to five points. Things just got interesting.

Five wins for Linfield and they need Larne to fail to win just one match.

Easier said than done.

The following day, the post split fixtures were announced.

Frustratingly for Linfield, they have to play three more matches before facing Larne.

Ideally, that would have been the first game, to try and get the points to cut that lead and really put the pressure on.

We’ve had 33 games to try and get to the top of the table.

There’s still 5 games to try and fix it.

Photo Album


October was a busy month, right from the very start, heading to Dungannon on the first day of the month to see Linfield get a win at Stangmore Park.

That was followed a few days later by another away day, to a very wet Wilgar Park to see Linfield grind out a 1-0 win over Dundela.

The following night, it was the Ulster Hall to see Beabadoobee in concert.

Back on the road the following Saturday to see Linfield draw with Coleraine.

Then it was back to Ulster Hall to see Paul Weller.

Two days after that, it was Linfield v Glentoran, the less said of that the better.

The following day was a lot more enjoyable, making the most of a football free Saturday to check out Murlough Bay.

Over the next seven days came two Linfield home matches, against Glenavon and Larne.

The following week, I was off to Manchester, my first visit to see Erik Ten Hag’s United in the flesh, against Sheriff Tiraspol.

While I was there, I got some photos from a stroll along a canal, some Street Art (of course) and a walk up Hartshead Pike.

The month ended with a trip to Newry to see Linfield get some much needed three points.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Dundela v Linfield

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall

Beabadoobee live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve

Murlough Bay Nature Reserve Photo Album

Linfield v Glenavon

Linfield v Larne

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester Canal Walk

Manchester Canal Walk Photo Album

Manchester United v Sheriff Tiraspol

Manchester Untied v Sheriff Tiraspol Photo Album

Hartshead Pike

Hartshead Pike Photo Album

Newry City v Linfield


2022 began with a trip to Dungannon on New Year’s Day to see Linfield win 6-1 at Stangmore Park.

On the Bank Holiday Monday that followed, I could have had a lie-in, but I decided to head up Cavehill instead.

I then visited a new football stadium for the first time, very exciting, going to see Harland and Wolff Welders take on Annagh United at Blanchflower Park, which had opened a few months earlier, this was my first chance to visit this ground.

The rest of the month, was Linfield matches, against Larne, Ballymena United, Glenavon, Cliftonville and Coleraine.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield


Cavehill Photo Album

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United Photo Album

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Glenavon

Cliftonville v Linfield

Coleraine v Linfield


Linfield’s stop-start domestic season got back off to another start, just about getting over the line at Stangmore Park. It was a win that didn’t move them anywhere in the table, but a weekend where more dropped points would have seen them falling further and further behind those ahead of them.

They couldn’t even overtake Carrick Rangers for crying out loud.

It was advisable not to turn up late for this one.

The previous matchday saw Dungannon Swifts go 1-0 inside the first minute against Portadown at Stangmore Park, while the previous meeting between the two sides at Stangmore Park was 1-1 after three minutes. And that match kicked off three minutes early.

When it became obvious that there would be a change of ends, Linfield attacking their fans in the first-half instead of the second-half, I had to scurry to the opposite end, so I was hoping there wouldn’t be an early goal while I was in motion.

There wasn’t, but I was in position to see Robbie McDaid get in behind Dungannon’s defence, but his low shot from a wide angle was well saved.

Dungannon responded with a low shot that went well wide.

They then had a few moments that caused worry for Linfield, an effort which went agonisingly across the six yard box and a shot which hit the side netting.

Despite having a lot of the ball, Linfield weren’t creating a lot of opportunities in open play. It never felt like Dungannon were under so much pressure that a goal for Linfield was only a matter of time.

In fact, Linfield’s best opportunity came when Dungannon lost possession in their final third, the ball falling to Robbie McDaid, who set himself up but fired over when he really should have scored.

A voice from the crowd said “You can’t afford to miss those McDaid”. Whoever he was, he was right.

On a day when Linfield were creating so few clear opportunities to score, they had to make the most of anything that came their way.

There was more frustration for Linfield when Daniel Finlayson headed wide from a corner.

By this point, there was a torrential rainstorm, which saw fans quickly vacate the open terracing for the sheltered areas.

As the pitch at Dungannon is 4G, there was no danger of an abandonment like there was at The Oval the previous evening, as tempting as that was feeling, to have the opportunity to go home and start again.

Within a few minutes, an abandonment was the last thing that Linfield fans were thinking of as Robbie McDaid put them 1-0 up, chesting the ball into the empty net from a few yards out after a cross from Stephen Fallon.

Just as it looked like Linfield were going to kick on and secure a comfortable victory, there was a dramatic change to the momentum as Chris Johns was sent-off for a professional foul.

Except, he wasn’t the last man, and it wasn’t even a foul.

I was stood behind the goal at the opposite and thought it was a foul in real time.

When you are watching a football match, you will know when one of your team’s players is in trouble.

Not once when the Referee approached Chris Johns did I fear that a red card would be coming next.

There were plenty of defenders tracking back in a position to try and challenge the Dungannon attacker if he bore down on goal.

After all that, TV replays suggested that any contact was minimal.

I had expected a midfielder to be sacrificed, but surprisingly, it was Mike Newberry who made way for David Walsh.

Not quite experienced, but far from a novice, you could trust that Walsh would not be overawed.

Thankfully, there wasn’t long left in the half. See that out, and use the break to clear heads and work towards getting the three points.

At least there was a lead to defend rather than a lead to seek out.

The second-half saw some Linfield pressure in the opening moments as they looked for a much needed second goal, which unfortunately didn’t come.

To counter that, Linfield were comfortable in defence, but a one goal lead is far from secure, regardless of who you are and who you are playing.

Robbie McDaid thought he had secured that much needed second when he finished after following-up an effort which hit the bar, only to be denied by an offside flag.

McDaid was further frustrated when he created space for himself in the penalty area, only to fire into the side netting when he really should have scored.

Despite the clock running down and playing with ten men, David Healy was reluctant to turn to his bench.

It seemed too obvious to bring on an attacker for Robbie McDaid or Cameron Palmer to add some freshness in midfield.

Eventually, there was a substitution, with Niall Quinn coming on for Robbie McDaid, with Joel Cooper playing up front on his own.

That was not a move I was anticipating.

Dungannon then hit the top of the crossbar from a header, a reminder to Linfield that 1-0 is a precarious lead.

With each passing minute, the 1-1 draw at Stangmore Park in 2012 began to enter the memory bank, when a comfortable afternoon because two dropped points and two players banned from the next game.

Joel Cooper would be involved in the main action in the final minutes when his shot from the left went to the wrong side of the near post.

Then, he got pushed over by a Dungannon defender when the game had stopped. No card.

Dare I suggest that a Linfield player would have got a card if the roles were reversed?

I wasn’t screaming for a red card as others might have been doing. A yellow would have sufficed. Even that was lacking.

Thankfully, Linfield were able to hold on and get a crucial win, even though it didn’t help them climb the table, it did keep them in touch with teams above them.

Up next, a trip to Dundela in the League Cup, then a trip to Coleraine in the League.

In the build-up to this game, the draw for the County Antrim Shield was done, where Linfield will face Cliftonville.

Away from home of course, another away game.

Photo Album


January 2022 began with a trip to a very wet Stangmore Park to see Linfield put six past Dungannon Swifts.

I then treated myself the following week with a trip to a match as a neutral, and to a ground I had never visited before.

Blanchflower Park was the destination, my first opportunity to check it out since it opened, to see Harland and Wolff Welders take on Annagh United in the Irish Cup.

Three days after that, it was off to Seaview for the County Antrim Shield Final between Linfield and Larne.

It was back to Windsor Park on the next two Saturdays for Linfield’s home matches against Ballymena United and Glenavon.

The month finished with two away trips for Linfield, to Cliftonville and Coleraine.

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United

Harland and Wolff Welders v Annagh United Photo Album

Larne v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Glenavon

Cliftonville v Linfield

Coleraine v Linfield


New Year’s Day, but Linfield weren’t in the mood for resolutions, they want to continue winning trophies.

They ended 2021 top of the table but only on goal difference. Having an earlier kick-off meant a win would give them a three point lead over Glentoran, a chance to achieve, albeit briefly, what they wanted to do five days previously.

Curiously, this match kicked off at 2.57pm. That curiousity would become even more curious within a few minutes.

For Linfield fans, this would be their first visit to Stangmore Park since October 2019, with Linfield’s only visit to Dungannon since then was behind closed doors.

That day, it was a nice sunny day despite the time of year and a win with four goals. A repeat would have been nice. In the morning, we were looking set for a repeat of the weather, before it took a bit of a turn as kick-off approached.

Hopefully, that would be the only unexpected turn of the day.

As well as two points dropped on Boxing Day, there were two players leaving the game early due to injury. Neither of them, Jimmy Callacher and Christy Manzinga, were able to take part on this game, their places being taken by Sam Roscoe and Andrew Clarke, with Clarke being the only available striker at the club, with the departure of Matt Green being confirmed in midweek.

With their main striker missing, questions would be asked of Linfield where the goals would be coming from?

There wouldn’t be long to wait for an answer as Kirk Millar put them 1-0 with a long range shot that hit the stanchion and go out back into play. Thankfully, there was no controversy as the goal was rightly given.

A perfect start for Linfield, an early breakthrough against opponents who were hoping to frustrate.

It was a perfect start that would be undone straight away, when Darragh McBrien was able to walk through Linfield’s defence and fire home.

There was just over two minutes on the clock when the ball hit the back of the net. Combined with the match kicking off at 2.57pm, the score was 1-1 before the scheduled kick-off time. It looked like both defences had been caught out by the early start.

We were all set for a 45-45 draw at this rate.

For a brief glorious moment, my football watching stats for 2022 were a goal every minute. I should have just walked out and not attended another match until 2023.

There wouldn’t be calm, just relative calm. Fans had to wait a whopping seven minutes for the next goal.

Naturally, even at this early stage, there were fears that this would be another Warrenpoint.

Thankfully, those fears were put to bed on nine minutes when Chris Shields lined up a shot. Having already seen a team-mate score from range, he obviously thought to himself, why not?

Within seconds, the ball had hit the back of the net for his first Linfield goal from open play, every bit as important as the penalties he had scored.

A few minutes later, Jordan Stewart headed home from close range to make it 3-1 despite the attempts of Dungannon’s keeper to claw the ball out.

There was a brief wait for confirmation that it was a goal. I had an excellent view and the ball did cross the line.

Four goals in the opening twelve minutes. Hope nobody turned up late.

Linfield were now in control, but that didn’t stop Dungannon going at them, a looping header from a free-kick going just over causing a moment of concern.

Unsurprisingly, after a frantic start, the game began to meander with Linfield now in control.

If it got to 4-1, that would have been the three points in the bag.

Despite only a two goal cushion, Chris Shields was replaced at half-time by Kyle McClean as a precaution.

The three goal lead that Linfield were looking for didn’t take long in coming, with Trai Hume heading home from a corner, just over a minute into the second-half. Dungannon being undone by an early goal.

Thankfully, this time there was no instant response from Dungannon.

Soon afterwards, Jamie Mulgrew curled an effort just wide as Linfield were now looking to boost their goal difference with the game won.

They had every need to with such a slender lead over Glentoran at kick-off of just three goals.

With such a commanding lead, Linfield also had the opportunity to make some substitutions.

Mike Newberry headed home to make it 5-1 as the game started to meander. Probably just as much to do with a downpour now taking place. No point doing anything silly in those conditions.

Ahmed Salam thought he made it 6-1 in injury time but his header was cleared off the line by Dungannon’s keeper. I had a good view of it but it was inconclusive.

Shortly after, it was 6-1 to Linfield from a corner. The goal has been credited to Ahmed Salam but it looked like an own goal by Dungannon’s keeper trying to punch the ball away.

As there is no Dubious Goals Committe, if a striker shouts loud enough, he gets it.

Salam wasn’t exactly shouting for it, but I doubt he’ll correct anybody. It didn’t matter, it was now 6-1 to Linfield.

That’s how it finished, with Linfield now having a three point lead over Glentoran.

However, it’s not Glentoran they should be worried about, it’s Cliftonville who are now their biggest challengers, being two points behind with a game in hand, against Crusaders on Tuesday night.

Crusaders, ridiculously, kicked off knowing if they won their games in hand they would only be five points off the top.

Make that seven, as they were held to a draw by Carrick Rangers.

As Linfield fans were tucking into their dinner after making it home, Glentoran were losing 3-2 to Larne, meaning that three point lead is maintained. Larne remain eight points behind. Not vast, but still some breathing space and a reason why if you had to choose a winner, it would be Larne.

Next Saturday, is the Irish Cup, at home to Oxford Sunnyside.

I would expect this to be a non event and an easy win for Linfield, but thanks to the defeat to QUB in 2020, there is still that element of fear when facing a lower league team.

I’ll be giving that game a miss but I will be heading across Belfast to Blanchflower Park to see Harland and Wolff Welders take on Annagh United, my first visit to the newly built stadium.

I hope.

My next Linfield match is scheduled to be the County Antrim Shield Final against Larne at Seaview on 11th January.

As yet, there are no tickets on sale yet. Presumably, because they are waiting for the outcome of the Assembley Executive Update, scheduled for Thursday 6th January.

Sadly, that’s where we’re at regarding attending football matches, literally taking it one game at a time.

Photo Album


Even though my matchgoing season ended prematurely, I still had a lot of photographs.

So, I decided to collate my favourites and let you choose the best.


During the July Holidays in 2019, I snuck off to Dublin for a few days. I had a stroke of luck that St Patrick’s Athletic were playing a UEFA Cup game while I was there, so I headed along.

The weather was perfect for phototaking. As the teams lined up, red paper was left out for fans to do a pre-match display. The framing worked out perfectly which is why I love this photo.


Another photo where it all fell into place, as Matthew Clarke chased a ball trying to keep it in. If you care, he wasn’t able to keep the ball in.



It’s all about the reactions, Mark Stafford running away in celebration, Ryan McGivern in the middle loving it and fans with their hands in the air. Unsurprisingly, this was a big goal in a big game.


My favourite. It was a big goal (a late winner against Glentoran) and everything just fell perfectly, catching Kirk Millar sliding in celebration, players running towards him and fans going wild.


Another picture where it all fell perfectly due to the framing, and the rain making a nice effect although it didn’t feel that way when I was getting drenched taking it.


Even though it was now October, I was still having a lot of daylight to work with. Dungannon is kind for phototaking and the framing of this just worked as Kirk Millar looked to get a cross in.


You know I love arty photos and this end of Warrenpoint allows you to experiment. As fans stood at the side of the pitch while action was ongoing, this was too good an opportunity to miss.


Over for a United match, I was able to take in a Salford City match while I was there. The first thing you see as you walk towards the ground is the floodlights in the shape of the club badge. I managed to capture it in all it’s glory.

Well, that was my favourite photos of 2019-2020, feel free to vote for your favourite, even though i’ve canvassed for what I think you should vote for.

Hopefully, it won’t be too long until i’m back in a football stadium taking photos so I can have a similar poll for 2020-2021.


October began with a disappointing trip to Seaview to see Linfield lose to Crusaders.

It got better the following Saturday, with a 4-1 win at Dungannon Swifts.

That was then followed by two quick trips to Windsor Park, to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 2-1, and then hammer Warrenpoint Town 7-0, before the month ended as it started, with a disappointing away defeat for Linfield, this time at Coleraine.

Crusaders v Linfield

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Coleraine v Linfield


October 2019 began with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

A busy month of concerts began a few days later with a trip to Ulster Hall to see The Divine Comedy.

There was even some Street Art spotted during the month, heading to Stephen Street to see a mural of The Joker and Catwoman

The next day, I was on the road to Dungannon to see Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 4-1.

From there, it was another concert, a first visit to The Telegraph Building, to see Two Door Cinema Club.

The flipping between football and concerts continued as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United. The following midweek saw a football/concert double header, seeing Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town, before seeing OMD at Ulster Hall.

October’s photo adventures ended with a trip to see Linfield take on Coleraine, the month beginning and ending for me with a 1-0 defeat.

Crusaders v Linfield

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Joker and Catwoman Mural

Joker and Catwoman Mural Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

OMD live at Ulster Hall

OMD live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield


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