A new year, but Linfield and Coleraine still managing to draw with each other. That is now twelve draws in the last twenty-five League encounters.

With both teams going into this game on winning runs and keeping a lot of clean sheets, it wasn’t the most surprising of results. Despite gaining one point on Cliftonville, three on Larne and four over Glentoran on the last two matchdays, it was hard to see it that way from a Linfield perspective, as they failed to secure the three points that would have seen them go level with Larne at the top of the table.

Linfield had one change from Boxing Day, with Mike Newberry coming in for Jimmy Callacher. Not that surprising, as Callacher appeared to be struggling with injury during the second-half at The Oval last week.

The early minutes of the game saw Linfield in Coleraine’s half. Inside two minutes, Eetu Vertainen worked space to find Matthew Clarke, whose cross was headed just wide by Robbie McDaid.

There was more header related frustration as a run and cross from Jamie Mulgrew was headed just wide by Eetu Vertainen.

People around me were getting ready to celebrate until they realised that the ball had gone wide.

Vertainen then had a shot go wide as Linfield continued to endure a frustrating first-half.

Despite having a lot of the ball and a lot of attacking situations, Linfield weren’t creating any clear opportunities.

That was, until Daniel Finlayson got on the end of a free-kick, only to see his header superbly saved by Marty Gallagher.

0-0 at half-time, but no immediate need to panic.

Linfield were the better team but couldn’t convincingly say that they should be 1-0 up. They really needed to be more clinical when opportunities fell their way.

The second-half began with a flurry of set pieces for Linfield, but nothing came of it. The best that would be offered in the second-half would be an Eetu Vertainen header and a Robbie McDaid effort, both of which went wide.

David Healy then turned to his bench, bringing on Andrew Clarke and Chris McKee for Cameron Palmer and Robbie McDaid.

A goal for McKee now would feel every bit as big as his goal against Coleraine the last time they visited Windsor Park on the last day of last season.

Clarke would have a shot go just wide within minutes of coming on, though it felt like a speculative effort than an attempt to score.

Joel Cooper then made space from himself but his shot went agonisingly wide.

It was obvious very early in the game that this was a match that was destined to finish 0-0.

With each passing minute. It became even more obvious. No matter how hard Linfield tried.

A lucky bounce saw the ball fall perfectly for Eetu Vertainen but that was the only lucky bounce that fell Linfield’s way as his shot was saved by the keeper’s legs.

Coleraine did manage to have an attack, with a free-kick from Eamon Fyfe being easily saved by Chris Johns.

His late goal at The Oval bought Eetu Vertainen some extra time on the pitch, but there wouldn’t be any more opportunities for him to score another late winner.

Even though Niall Quinn (a welcome return) and Ethan Devine were unused in the bench as attacking options, they could have brought on Lionel Messi and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

It was one of those days, a frustrating afternoon.

Linfield were the better team, but couldn’t convincingly say that they should have been outright winners

As I said earlier in the season, if somebody told you that the last twenty meetings between Coleraine and Linfield had finished 0-0, you would believe it because it sounds believable.

You feel like you could just write off the remaining two League games as 0-0 draws.

And the remaining three against Cliftonville.

Coincidentally, Linfield’s next League game, at Solitude.

Not quite must-win but certainly do not lose.

There’s not point on pushing to get this close to the top of the league just to get pulled away again.

But what a message that would send out to the rest of the League, to win on a rival’s home turf and reach the top.

But first, it’s Warrenpoint Town at home in the Irish Cup.

One game at a time. It’s a busy month. So many games, so many competitions. It’s hard to keep track.

The last two months have seen two Cup Finals reached (one of which is this month) and the gap at the top get closer and closer.

It is frustrating that this run includes three 0-0 draws against Top 6 teams, meaning that all the other Top 6 teams have come away from Windsor Park with something this season.

Although recently, four have them have come away without a goal, just like a few other teams that Linfield have faced over the past two and a bit months.

Considering that Linfield conceded nine goals in eight days in October, that is most welcome.

Now to get it right at the other end.

Photo Album


December began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers.

That was then followed by a tip to Telegraph Building to see Blossoms in concert.

A spell of frost descended on Belfast, but now snow. I was all psyched up for snow photos, for nothing.

There was then a football free weekend for me, with Linfield in Scotland.

The following weekend, I headed to Ulster Hall to see Ash in concert, followed by Linfield’s home match against Dungannon Swifts.

As you will have noticed, there is still a week of the month left.

What I have planned is Bangor v Dunmurry Rec, Glentoran v Linfield, a walk up Cavehill and possibly Lisnabreeny Hill.

Here’s to more phototaking in 2023 and beyond.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Blossoms live at Telegraph Building

Blossoms live at Telegraph Building Photo Album

Ash live at Ulster Hall

Ash live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts


Things are going so well for Linfield at the moment, they moved up a place in the League without playing the previous weekend.

Even though they went out of the Scottish Challenge Cup, which was annoying as they would have had a trip to Dumfries in the next round, if you had to lose one cup tie that week, that would have been it. Even the bumps aren’t that bumpy.

Two Cup Finals to look forward to in 2023, Linfield needed to keep on winning to ensure they would start 2023 still in the title race that they looked out of in mid October.

They were handed an accidental boost by the weather, with Larne, Glentoran, Coleraine and Crusaders all having their matches postponed, giving Linfield a chance to get points on the board while others are inactive, a role reversal from the previous week.

Straight on the attack from kick-off, Linfield were looking to make the most of the opportunity to gain points on their rivals.

They looked like they might get a penalty in the opening minute for a foul on Joel Cooper but nothing was given.

Eetu Vertainen then had a shot blocked, the sting taken out of it to take it out for a corner.

It felt like a matter of time before Linfield scored.

Six minutes was the answer, as Eetu Vertainen was played in out right and his cross was perfect for Chris McKee to finish from close range.

From where I was sat, I and those around me could see him unmarked and onside. You were celebrating a goal before the cross even came in.

A much needed start in a game like this. You don’t want to give the opposition something to hold on to.

Linfield didn’t really kick on as hoped after that, and were a bit sloppy in defence, although Dungannon never looked like taking advantage of any sloppy passes going their way.

Eventually, Linfield got themselves back on track and were soon 2-0 up when Eetu Vertainen made space for himself in the box and smashed home. Even at this early stage, it was game over unless Linfield did something stupid.

It was Linfield who were almost gifted a goal when Joel Cooper capitalised on a loose ball but Dungannon’s keeper was able to get out quickly to make himself big and deny him.

Sam Roscoe was then frustrated as his flick goalwards didn’t have enough power to trouble the keeper as they had to settle for a commanding but not decisive 2-0 lead.

A third goal would have done the job for Linfield and there wasn’t long to wait in the second-half for it, just three minutes in fact.

Joel Cooper played in Chris McKee in a wide position, under pressure from Dungannon’s keeper. No problem, just backheel it for Cameron Palmer to put it into the empty net.

Palmer got a knock for his troubles but was able to continue.

He was one of those who would be substituted with the game won. No need to take risks.

Amongst those coming on was Jordan Stewart, making a long awaited return after injury. He would be joined by Liam McStravick, getting more minutes under his belt.

The rest of the game then meandered without incident, until the final five minutes.

Matthew Clarke went on a run and found himself running through on goal before being pulled back by Caolan Marron, who was sent-off

You could argue that was harsh as there was Dungannon defenders putting pressure on Clarke (something they probably should have done many yards earlier), but, Chris Johns was harshly sent-off at Stangmore Park in October in a game where Marron was lucky not to be sent-off.

It was a bit of a stupid thing to do, as the game was gone as far as Dungannon were concered, i’m not sure if was worth the sacrifice. It’s not as if they were holding on for a win or a draw.

The respite was almost temporary as Kyle McClean’s free-kick hit the bar before being headed in by Jordan Stewart, who was flagged offside.

Looking at replays of the incident, the offside call was correct but it looked like the ball might have been just over the line.

It wouldn’t be long before Linfield made it 4-0, and it was more frustration for Jordan Stewart as his shot hit the post but fell for Ethan Devine to set up Liam McStravick to put it into the back of the net.

If it’s not going to be your day, might as well be continually frustrated in your attempts to make it 4-0. That’s a good kind of bad day.

It was great to see him back in action, at a time when numbers will be needed.

Attention for Linfield now turned to the trip to The Oval on Boxing Day.

Although, there were other things occupying their mind recently.

They drew Warrenpoint at home in the Irish Cup. A bit meh, would have loved it if it was away.

Curiously, if they win the Irish Cup this season, their last three wins in the competition, all in the last decade, will have been on a Friday, Saturday and a Sunday.

Glentoran can also achieve this rather unique treble, but let’s not think about that.

A Sunday Final is handy for me as i’m planning to go to United v Wolves on the following weekend, so there is no awkward clash for me.

Let’s hope Linfield get there in the first place.

Also coming to Windsor Park is Michael O’Neill. A pleasantly surprising development. I didn’t think he’d take the Northern Ireland job as he’d be holding out for an English Championship post (he has enough credit in the bank in terms of reputation from his time at Stoke) so this is a bit of a coup.

A welcome mood boost ahead of the Euro 2024 Qualifiers, just as much as Denmark’s performances at the World Cup.

More good Euro news in the shape of new air routes to Frankfurt and Budapest being announced from Belfast. Possible trips with football thrown in to be explored.

Before my visit to The Oval will be a trip to Seaview for the Steel and Sons Cup Final as it’s on the rather more convenient date of Christmas Eve.

Might as well make the most of it as it won’t be on that date until 2033.

So i’ll sign off by wishing you all a Merry Christmas, even to Glentoran supporters.

Although, I hope they have a shitty day on the 26th.

Photo Album


November began with a trip to Shamrock Park to see Linfield eventually beat Portadown by a score of 3-0.

By this point, I was using up Annual Leave, so I went on a day trip to Dublin and got some Street Art photos.

That was then followed by two trips to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Cliftonville and Glenavon.

Another Linfield match, this time on the road, to Ballymena.

The next day, I made the most of a football free Saturday morning to head to Lisnabreeny Hill to get some Sunrise photos.

Then that night, I made my first visit to the newly rebuilt Mandela Hall to see John Power in concert.

November ended with two Linfield matches, both at home, against Larne and Crusaders.

Portadown v Linfield

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Linfield v Cliftonville

Linfield v Glenavon

Ballymena United v Linfield

Lisnabreeny Hill

Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album

John Power live at Mandela Hall

John Power live at Mandela Hall Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Crusaders


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


September began with a trip to Ballymena to see Linfield get their season back on track with a 4-0 win at Ballymena.

Football then took a break for a bit, but I was back on the road, and visiting a new ground as Linfield travelled to Moyola Park in the League Cup.

More travelling followed, not as far, three days later as Linfield faced Crusaders at Seaview.

Having a football free Saturday, I got up early for a long overdue trip to Giant’s Ring to get some photos as the sun was coming up.

Two days later, was an unexpected Public Holiday, so I headed on the North Down Coastal Path, starting at Helen’s Bay for a change, making my way to Bangor West. I think.

On the following Saturday morning, I made a long overdue return to Belvoir Park Forest before heading to Windsor Park at teatime to see Northern Ireland face Kosovo.

My final adventure of the month was a first concert since June, to The Odyssey to see George Ezra.

Ballymena United v Linfield

Moyola Park v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

Giant’s Ring/Terrace Hill Gardens/Minnowburn

Giant’s Ring/Terrace Hill Gardens/Minnowburn Photo Album

North Down Coastal Path

North Down Coastal Path Photo Album

Belvoir Park Forest

Belvoir Park Forest Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Kosovo

Northern Ireland v Kosovo Photo Album

George Ezra live at The Odyssey

George Ezra live at The Odyssey Photo Album


August began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on FC Zurich.

That was followed two days later by a trip to Spelga Dam for a stroll around Mourne Mountains.

Sunday was the new day for football, going to see Linfield take on Portadown and Newry City.

It was then back to Thursday nights for Linfield v RFS. The less said about that game, the better.

The end of August was a Bank Holiday Weekend, which I spent walking, with trips to Cavehill, Blackhead Path and Lisnabreeny Hill.

Sandwiched inbetween that was a trip to Taylor’s Avenue to see Linfield take on Carrick Rangers.

The less said about that, the better.

Linfield v FC Zurich

Mourne Rambling

Mourne Rambling Photo Album

Linfield v Portadown

Newry City v Linfield

Linfield v RFS


Cavehill Photo Album

Blackhead Path

Blackhead Path Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Lisnabreeny Hill

Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album


Two football matches, two concerts and a trip to Newcastle. That was June.

It was Windsor Park-Limelight on a rotating basis, with Del Amitri and Feeder being sandwiched inbetween Northern Ireland’s matches against Greece and Cyprus.

At the end of the month, I went to North-East England (and a bit of Yorkshire), although the only photo adventure was a trip to Jesmond Dene in Newcastle,

Northern Ireland v Greece

Northern Ireland v Greece Photo Album

Del Amitri live at The Limelight

Del Amitri live at The Limelight Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Cyprus

Northern Ireland v Cyprus Photo Album

Feeder live at The Limelight

Feeder live at The Limelight Photo Album

Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene Photo Album


April began with a football free Saturday, so I headed to Scrabo Country Park, got lucky with the weather and got lots of nice photos.

The rest of the month was all about football, the next two weekends saw me attend Linfield’s matches against Cliftonville and Glentoran.

With two Public Holidays for Easter, I decided to go for walks up Cregagh Glen and then up Cavehill.

That was then followed by Linfield’s matches against Crusaders, Larne and Coleraine.

Just hours after seeing Linfield winning the League against Coleraine, I headed to Custom House Square to see Echo and the Bunnymen, my first concert of 2022.

Scrabo Country Park

Scrabo Country Park Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill

Cregagh Glen/Lisnabreeny Hill Photo Album


Cavehill Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Larne

Linfield v Coleraine

Linfield v Coleraine Photo Album

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom Hosue Square

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square Photo Album


Another win, and finally some progress, as Linfield moved up to the dizzy heights of 3rd.

Larne’s win at Glenavon on Friday night meant that the three points were needed simply to keep in touch, it would turn out that defeats for Glentoran and Cliftonville would mean it was about that and overtaking others.

Linfield’s starting eleven saw a return for two absentees, with Joel Cooper back from injury and Eetu Vertainen from suspension.

With both teams ready to start the game, the Referee signalled for a change of ends.

Fuck sake. As someone who likes to sit where Linfield attack, that mean a fast walk to the other end of the South Stand which is a bit of a task as I am full of chocolate.

You know the drill when this happens, no goals in the first minute.

This was an arrangement that Linfield kept to, but only just.

As I had just taken my seat, I was up out of it straight away as Eetu Vertainen got on the end of a Matthew Clarke cross with just ninety seconds on the clock.

A welcome development in a game like this. As Linfield found out in August, you don’t give a team like Carrick something to defend.

Despite the setback, Carrick didn’t capitulate and had a few attacks of their own in search of an equaliser.

A few of those attacks came from fouls on Linfield players clearing the ball not being given.

You know it’s bad when a free-kick for Linfield is universally met with sarcastic applause.

Linfield looked to capitalise on their early lead, and looked set to go 2-0 up as Ethan Devine set himself to head in, but it was saved from closed range at the expense of a corner.

There wasn’t long to wait for that second goal as Jimmy Callacher was allowed to run with the ball, and used the time and space to play in Eetu Vertainen to make it 2-0. One of those where you knew he was going to score as soon as he got the ball.

Robbie McDaid curled a shot wide and Joel Cooper had a goalbound shot blocked, the block taking the sting out of the shot so the ball could be saved at the expense of a corner as Linfield went in search of a third goal.

Despite that, 2-0 was a satisfactory half’s work.

Most of the second-half, the game meandered and became a non event, the League Cup Semi-Final against Glentoran looming large and the object being to get through this without doing anything stupid and save energy for the trip to The Oval.

David Healy took the opportunity to make use of his bench, with Chris McKee, Cameron Palmer and Liam McStravick all coming on.

Suddenly, Carrick Rangers got back into the game when a speculative shot that was going well wide suddenly became a great pass for Ben Tilney, who made no mistake to make it 2-1.

Suddenly, we had a game.

You could hear the collective groans around Windsor Park. This wasn’t supposed to be happening.

There was still ten minutes to go, plenty of time for Carrick to grab an unlikely point.

As the game entered it’s final minutes, there was never any danger of Carrick getting an equaliser, but you can never be too confident when there is only one goal in it.

Especially as Carrick scored from a wayward shot that suddenly became a great pass.

Those of a nervous disposition weren’t helped by there being five minutes of injury time.

Their mood was improved during that injury time when Robbie McDaid was played through and made it 3-1. Points definitely in the bag now.

The best thing about this game? Not cringing at Balloon Unity, or whatever the fuck they are called, making arses of themselves.

I can’t remember the last match I went to where I didn’t cringe at the shite they sing. An embarrassment we can do without. The sooner we get rid of them, the better.

I’m long past the point of tolerating them, or even trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve proven time and time again that they can’t be trusted to behave themselves.

We’re all going to be punished for their shitty behaviour and I won’t be dragged down by them.

I’m sure they’ll embarrass themselves and every single one of us some time soon. Might as well enjoy this one.

As one of five teams at the top, getting four results in our favour every week is a tough ask, but two will do.

Up to third now, cutting the gap at the top gradually.

Small steps.

That’s the League on hold for a while for Linfield and a good way to send off ahead of two cup games.

The first of those, was an easy 3-0 win at The Oval to go through to the League Cup Final.

I was going to go, but having missed the County Antrim Shield Semi-Final a few weeks back, I was worried about jinxing them so I didn’t go.

You can all thank me for that result.

I’ll definitely be at the Final.

One of two Cup Finals to look forward to in 2023.

Hopefully, six points in the two League games that remain in 2022 will give us a title challenge to look forward to as well.

Photo Album