Monday, February 4, 2008

Crusaders 2 Linfield 3

Oran looks happy!

Kop Stand crowd

Crues fans in the North Stand, plus freebie kids in the lower deck

CIS League Cup Final, Windsor Park, Saturday 2nd February 2008

Team: Mannus, O’Kane, Murphy, Lindsay, Ervin (Dickson 80), Curran, McAreavey, Downey (Ferguson 66), Mulgrew (Kearney 60), Thompson, Stewart
Subs not used : Bailie, Douglas

Scorers: Thompson, Ferguson 2

Attendance: approx. 7000

So Linfield gain their first trophy of the season, and to be honest, we stole it, 2 goals in the last 5 minutes from Glenn Ferguson, finally getting the 500 goals monkey off his back, securing the trophy. Fair enough, you can say it epitomised Linfield's never-say-die spirit, but the consensus on Hatchets and Hammers is that we played poorly and didn't really deserve to win, despite controlling much of the game.

Because of the Six Nations rugby taking priority, I could only see some of the game. This is what I thought based on what I saw:

I only saw the last 10 minutes of the first half, and the last 20 of the match

1st half: I thought we controlled the game, played some nice football, and all that was lacking was a good final ball. On the other hand, the Crues broke through on the right, dunno who it was, but if he hadn't been so greedy and crossed instead of shooting, we'd have been 1 down. Maccers was showing the skills, Downey looked the part (save the final ball) and Thompo and Stewart were lively. Just the defence being shaky and playing too high. I quite liked the midfield balance.

2nd half last 20: we were frankly all over the place. I could honestly not work out our formation or who was playing where. We clearly do not practice 4-3-3 in training, nor or the players given clear guidelines on where they fit into that system, as we were a mess. Where was Tommy supposed to fit in? What was our tactics? I felt we got out of jail. We should have gone 2-1 down right beore that fat bastard Brown ( ) scored (did you see his belly when he whipped his top off? My mates in the bar were pissing themselves
I'm a) not sure about Winkie and Kris together at centre-half, and b) this high defensive line bollocks. It's too risky, and now we lack the pace to make up for any times it doesn't work.
However, we came back well, 2 blatant penalties in the space of 3 seconds weren't given, Oran came close, then Spike rescued us. Well done Fergie, I just hope DJ learns the right lesson and keeps him as an impact sub.

One more thing, the crowd was pretty pathetic, again friends were laughing at the fact it was a final and the stadium looked empty. Charging less, giving thousands of tickets to youngsters when the demand clearly isn't there, and putting cameras in the North Stand should be looked at.

DGIG saw it this way, my trusty reporter EBB is still AWOL despite being in attendance on Saturday :):


- Another trophy in the cabinet
- Perfect impact sub performance from Spike and the 500 monkey off his back
- Glimpses of what makes Oran Kearney such an important player


- Tactical insanity from DJ. No need at all to go 4-3-3 when he did.
- The high offside line costing us dear AGAIN.
- The right side AGAIN.
- The South Stand cherry-picking its victims. AGAIN.

No-one seems to be criticising the subs themselves, it's how they were played that rankles.

There was no need at all to go 4-3-3 when bringing Ferguson on. When we did that we lost the midfield, exposed our full backs, lost control of the game, and it led almost directly to Crusaders taking the lead.

Dickson for Ervin was a no-brainer. Ervin was having a stinker, we had to take risks, and Dickson offered the best attacking option on the bench for that side of the pitch. Why the South Stand felt the need to boo both their poster boys being taken off, despite both being rank, who knows?

and if Three Colours Blue doesn't mind, he wrote a superb match summary:

That's two weeks on the trot now we've got out of jail.

Happy to win another trophy and glad to see Spike get that monkey off his back.... HOWEVER....

That defence of ours Needs sorted and in a hurry.
They were all over the place ffs!
For me Winkie and Lindsay can't play together. Every team that play us now know to just keep hitting the long ball over them, it causes panic in our back division. It's either one or the other and we need a new centre back with a turn of pace to play beside winkie/Lindsay. What's this Billy Joe Burns like pace wise?.. If he's quick enough, get him in the team NOW.
For a period in the game wee Jim was everywhere BUT right back.
O'kane for me was the pick of our defenders. Solid enough but without causing any problems going forward.

Midfield... For the second week in a row we missed the combative skills and energy of Michael Gault.
I thought Maccers had a good enough game always probing, good passing in the main and covered a lot of ground today.
As for Downey, someone needs to have a word in his ear. These step overs and flicks are all fine and well but where's the end product?? and as for his clearance that lead to the Crues first goal.
Sort it out Downey most times the simple ball is the correct ball to play.
also arguing with your own players isn't a good idea.
Curran I thought also put in a decent shift, not spectacular but not bad either.
Mulgrew? wtf has happened to him?... He's playing like he's no interest ffs, head down and lifeless. He HAD to come off.
Mind you, exactly the same criticism can be labelled at Mark Dickson, could the real wee Jamie and Dicko please stand up!

Forward.... Huffed and puffed all day. Both Pete and Tommy put in good shifts whilst not really getting any quality ball whilst credit must go to the Crues defence who in the main marshaled them well.
Our lack of width draws both our strikers out to the flanks far too much for my liking.
Spike changed the game when he came on purely and simply by being in the right place at the right time.. Fair play to him though, it's a good job he was.

All in all.. Happy, get that Cup back in the Windsor trophy cabinet where it belongs....But with big reservations about our defence.

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