Monday, April 14, 2008

Linfield 0 Glentoran 0

Hatchets and Hammers polos out in full force, and very well-received they were too

IPL, Windsor Park, Saturday 12th April 2008

Team: Mannus, Ervin (Douglas 24), O’Kane, Murphy, Bailie, Gault, Curran (Kearney), Mulgrew, Stewart (McAreavey), Ferguson, Thompson
Subs not used : Dickson, Downey

Attendance: ca. 8000 (5000 Linfield fans)

I've waited till Monday to write about this. My anger as regards our 'performance' hasn't lessened much. We were woeful, and lucky to get a draw, the only real positive I can draw from Saturday is that we didn't lose and as such, shouldn't lose the league now.

The Glens created the better chances, played some good football, outpassed us, were quicker to the second ball, seemed hungrier and Hamilton really should have won it in injury time. McCabe was by far the best outfield player, but Mannus probably won us the league with that performance and as such was my MOTM. We should have had at least one blatant penalty though, when Maccers was bundled over in the box.


- Tino. Absolutely inspired, and his staying behind at the end to clap the Kop seemed ominous. We're in big trouble if he moves to England, especially if Goose is his replacement. Gulp.
- Peter Thompson. Still doing the running of two strikers, still looking sharp and our most dangerous.
- Good atmosphere, plenty of colour and noise from the Kop. The Hatchets and Hammers flag was out in force, and no-one tried to intervene. More hot air from our MC then.

- Noel Bailie was at his vintage best, and he had to be.


- Spike. He really is done. Still in Leeman's pocket. No mobility, drops back into midfield too much, leaving Thompson with too much running to do and getting in the way of our midfielders. He has played at least 40 full games this year, and it's too much for a 37 year-old. We've criminally overused him this season, and we'll regret it next season.
- DJ's starting eleven and subsequent substitutions. Spike has not scored against Paul Leeman too often in recent years, we always play the same hoof-it-up-to-spike-and-hope-for-flick-ons against the Glens, it's so easy to predict and counter, and thus it was on Saturday. Why is DJ and his cheerleaders the only ones to see that Ferguson was wrecked and practically stationary, and that the way through the Glens defence was through pace?
- Curran. Out of position, but simply not good enough. Too slow.
- Tommy Stewart had another poor game on the wing, too often shirked tackles and looked disinterested, hardly touched the ball in the first half. Should not be playing there anyway. He'll be away at the end of the season, probably go to Portadown or Glens, and will come back to punish us. Again and again.
- Gault and Mulgrew in CM didn't work, they're too similar and seemed to be treading on each other's toes repeatedly.
- I thought Kearney looked slow and unfit when he came on.
- Jim Ervin's injury. Innocuous tackle. Get well soon Jimbo.

EBB's summary, don't agree with one or two, but fair otherwise:

We were woeful

Mannus- Magic. Possibly won us the title.

Ervin- Was playing alright until he went off, hopefully he's not too seriously hurt.
Murphy- Solid, if not spectacular.
Bailie- Rolled back the years with a class performance. Always seemed to be in the right places on Saturday, to stop Glens attacks.
O'Kane- Done his job well, which first and foremost is to defend. Didn't get forward as much as usual, but he was solid.

Stewart- Ineffective, but he isn't a right midfielder. Gets a by ball from me.
Gault- Queiter than usual, but still put in the hard graft.
Mulgrew- Much the same as Gault I suppose. Typical battling performance and always there when he was needed.
Curran- Poor, but like Stewart, he isn't a wide midfield player. Again, gets a by ball.

Thompson- Worked his balls off and was always willing to put in the running. The service was good enough, though and he was feeding off scraps.
Spike- Still in Leepers pocket I think.


Douglas- Despite all his criticisms, I thought he played really well.
Kearney- Gave us an outlet everytime we needed it. Should have started.
Maccers- Showed signs of what we know he can do. No surprise that when he came we looked dangerous. Give him the ball and he'll pick out passes. Probably should have started.

Jeffrey, once again, got the initial team selection wrong and proceeded to get things wrong by leaving Spike on, who was having a nightmare against Leeman. Keeping Stewart on and pushing him upfront would have made much sense.

We're lucky they're not very good, or we would have been beaten.

Great photos as ever on SSS from Thompo.

Highlights of the game available to watch on Forza TV.

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