Glentoran Seconds 1-2 Linfield Swifts

I find it increasingly hard to motivate myself to actually go to the trouble as to write one of these so called ‘reports, moreover when my team haven’t played particularly well thereby have basically fallen short of maintaining those those high standards expected before the game actually kicked off. Still, I suppose if I don’t type something out I’ll stand accused of falling into that ‘You only sing when you’re winning’ bracket.

However, I’ve decided to cram both halves into one post. This game of reserve football happened to be far from a classic: In actual fact, one could write about the overall action that occurred in the second half on the back of a postage stamp. The bitterest pill to swallow though is having to reluctantly concede the open fact that the better team won on the night. My wife happens to have strong Linfield connections on her side of the family so it came as no surprise that she inquired about last nights result on my return home. “Well, she asked, How did you lot do tonight”? ” About as well as your first team” came my reply, although to be perfectly honest I was secretly seething deep inside but managed to discipline myself in such a manner that would not openly show it.

The game actually opened with an abundance of great promise: An almost hysterical frenzied start induced fierce tackles from both sides, the ball frantically being swept from one end of the pitch to the other although no real clear glaring opportunities created by either but the kind of football best reserved when local rivals meet one another on the battlefield. I thought that our defence – consisting of Connor Malcolmson, Cameron Skates, Adam Calvert, Carter Savage & Karl Hamill where, at times, absolutely outstanding last night. I thought that Goalkeeper Connor & centre half Carter give extremely creditable performances. They give exemplary displays at the heart of the defence.

It was Linfield though that came closest to taking the lead after some fine approach work that originated from the centre of midfield – the play had, by this time, switched to the left of the wing – when the ball happened to be eventually whipped into our area a swift shot deep inside our box forced Goalkeeper Malcolmson into a splendid reactionary save – the first of many that he was called upon to make last night in this opening half.

However It was Linfield that appeared the more dangerous – on this occasion a ball played in from the right – was dealt with in an appropriate fashion by that excellent young centre half Carter Savage whose timely intervention prevented the ball from reaching a Blue-shirted opponent whilst hovering somewhat menacingly directly in front of goal!

Our reply to these early waves of Linfield attacks was to attempt to launch one of our own: Jim O’Hanlon made a fine teasy-weasy style run on the right wing, his final ball drilled across the area proved a good one but a Blues defender hacked it clear at the far left of the area thereby denying the ascending Glentoran legion of players now within that area, a shot at the target!

In another instance Johnny McGaw tried his pot luck with a somewhat speculative volley outside the area but this landed well, well wide.

Connor, once again, instinctively managed to block a Blues snap-shot that came at him from just outside the eighteen yard box – our young custodian had to remain on high alert at various intervals last night.

Linfield subsequently took the lead after the referee had awarded them a free kick outside the perimetre of the eighteen yard box. The Blues player hammered the shot toward the right of our goal, Connor made a magnificent save but unfortunately the ball cannoned out nicely for the predatory presence of yet another Linfield player to strike hard at goal from close quarters – With amazing ultra- razor awareness though, Connor made a stunning one handed save from point blank range although as this ricocheted from Connors hand, third time lucky as the loose ball was submitted into the back of the net by young Linfield striker Dale Patton to open up the match. Great work from Connor, but with hindsight – could our defence, perhaps, not have afforded our goalkeeper a little more protection around his surrounding area?

It should be noted that Ciaran Clougherty once again meticulously played a starring role in anything constructive we offered when advancing forward. Ciaran, I personally thought played extremely well last night – in fact he happened to be scythed down outside the Blues area – the free kick happened to be dispatched by young Johnny McGaw but this caused the Blues number one little anxiety as he gathered it with relative ease.

Meanwhile, Linfield themselves almost executed one of their own – the free kick, taken outside our area, escalated over our makeshift wall but once again, young Malcolmson performed heroics as he ostentatiously smothered the sudden impact with great prowess & razor sharp reaction.

The highly influential Ciaran Clougherty sought out young Cameron Skates with finely tuned ball as young Skates galloped down, then cut in from right wing- Cameron unleashed a powerful drive aimed with great precision at the right post but the Linfield keeper made a spectacular save to deny us our equalizer – although he parried this, the follow up shot was driven harmlessly into the side netting!

We drew level after we jig-sawed one of the best moves of the entire game: Jim O’Hanlon won possession inside our own half on the left of the pitch, his subsequent pass delivered with great eloquence likewise found young live-wire Clougherty whom steamrollered toward opposition territory, skilfully skipping a challenge as he did so, – he instinctively played the ball to his colleague Patrick Cafolla whom systematically returned the favour with a brisk little pass of his own back to young Clougherty – Young Ciaran gathered momentum, thus sprinted into the box – lifted his head henceforth pivoted a supreme shot deep into the Linfield net for a glorious equalizer!

Nonetheless, sadly it wasn’t to last for long: Linfield regained the lead after, to be perfectly honest, we permitted a Blues jersey by far too much room to manoeuvre – One of our lads – whom had a great first half – failed to lace the ball when the opportunity arose, the Blues player dispossessed him, strolled into the box thus fired into the left hand corner of the net that restored Linfield’s lead.

First Half –

Linfield Swifts 2- 1 Glentoran Seconds.

Believe it or not but that was more or less the end of the game as regards a spectacle. Nothing of great interest actually occurred or happened within this latter forty five minute spell worthy of any great mention. The game more or less completely peppered & fizzed out.

One movement I suppose that must be mentioned stemmed from a tremendous ball forwarded by Patrick Cafolla that made its way down the pitch: Dee Fearon, latched onto it like a limpet – proceeded to run into the box – Dee sensationally rolled a great ball across the face of the area into the path of Jim O’Hanlon but the Linfield goalkeeper – whom had stormed out of his area to retrieve – smothered the ball just in the knick of time as Jim seemingly was bracing himself to drive it home!

Linfield’s only effort happened to be a relative long range effort that just curled & twisted narrowly past the left of the crossbar!

A lot of huff & puff that the Dragon with the latter name from the Children’s nursery rhyme might well be proud – but evidently little happened.

Mason McSorley & Joe Mulholland both came on to try & add some impetus to our attack but it was too late in the day for either to make an impression.

For three years the Blues found great difficulty in even so much as achieving a draw against Glentoran Seconds but nowadays the roles seem to have been reversed. I wish not to remind anyone but it must be said – that is now our fourth defeat against them on the trot. We need to ensure that we bring these series of poor results that we have incurred against them -sooner rather than later – to an end!

Glentoran Seconds-

1/ Connor Malcolmson 2/ Cameron Skates 3/ Adam Calvert 4/ Carter Savage 5/ Karl Hamill 6/ Matthew Dempster 7/ Jim O’Hanlon 8/ Ciaran Clougherty 9/ Dee Fearon 10/ Patrick Cafolla 11/ Johnny McGaw

Subs – Mason McSorley, Edward Shaw, Joe Mulholland, Kris Gaw & Kal Wardlow.