- Larne beat Coleraine to move top of the table
- Warrenpoint produce a wonderful display to beat the blues
- Portadown now sits bottom after a hammering at the hands of Cliftonville.
Coleraine 0-2 Larne
What a great start to the season it has been for Larne. If this is not championship-winning form – even at this early stage – then I don’t know what is. Eight games played and eight games undefeated. Only three goals conceded and if you want to win this league, you need to be tight at the back. They look strong as a unit and are a well-drilled outfit. My only issue this week is the outburst from Larne owner Kenny Bruce. He was making comments about the state of the pitch at the Coleraine Showgrounds.
Well, Kenny, us supporters in the Danske Bank Premiership have been saying this for a few years. I know you are new to the game here, but Larne are used to playing on horrible pitches as they have done for most of the last ten seasons. So, I don’t see your issue. This game was won through two Davy McDaid goals as the little striker is proving hard to stop in and around the penalty area.
What has happened to Coleraine? They are banking on the European money they will receive at the end of the season to pay for a new plastic pitch. If they do not get their act together soon, that money will just about keep them afloat. Two wins in seven for last season’s runners-up – not the start that any fan across the league has expected from the Bannsiders. Next up is games against Carrick Rangers and Dungannon Swifts, where they should pick up maximum points.
Warrenpoint Town 2-1 Linfield
Hats off to Barry Gray and his Warrenpoint team, they got a massive three points in this encounter. The only reason the Blues did not come away with the win was the lacklustre performance from their stars. If you think as a Linfield player you can turn up and play at 70% and call it acceptable? You really are at the wrong club.
The Blues over the last few weeks have not been winning games by any big margins. They couldn’t even finish off a Glentoran team who played a large chunk of the game with 10 men. Problems? Yeah, motivational problems for David Healy that needs addressing as they have got title challengers with just as strong a squad as them, and money.
The Blues took the lead in this game as they do in many, but they just seem to switch off and try to put themselves into cruise control and think game over. Well, Point were not having it. Alan O’Sullivan pounced to score the equaliser after Kirk Millar had put the Blues ahead. Kealan Dillon then scored the winner for the Point. It’s a great win for them that sees them push up to eighth place in the league.
Glenavon 3-1 Crusaders
On this display, how the Crues are still sitting in third is beyond me. They set their stall out in this one to sit back and hit on the counter. Then, when it all went wrong, they put on Jordon Owens to go route one. The problem with route one, if your target man is not flicking into the path of a supporting player, the opposition will continuously transition from defence to attack. Stephen Baxter made the call to bring off Rory Hale who seems to be the scapegoat now when things go wrong.
Jamie McGonigle looks like he doesn’t want to be there, or he is just not happy playing out of position. The Crues have players that can get the ball down and play, but they are playing into the hands of teams that play football. Long ball up, that comes straight back.
This was a great comeback week for Glenavon after their defeat to the Blues last week. Gary Hamilton works on a shoestring budget but has players that give 100%. The Crues took the lead in this game through Philip Lowry, who reacted quickest in the box to score from close range. But then it was the case of “sit back and see” from the Crues. Straight after the break, the Lurgan Blues drew level with the impressive Jack O’Mahony heading in the equaliser. Two further goals from Peter Campbell and Matthew Fitzpatrick confirmed the victory. But in fairness, if it wasn’t for the 39-year-old Ger Doherty between the stick for the Crues, this would have been more.
Cliftonville 5-0 Portadown
A very inconsistent start to the season for Cliftonville and one Paddy McLaughlin will hope to fix soon. Four wins and four defeats show just how inconsistent his team have been so far this season. Coming off the back of a hammering at the hands of Ballymena they went and produced this. Football, eh! Michael McCrudden helped himself to a hat-trick while Substitute Daire O’Conner helped himself to two goals to confirm the win.
Portadown are on a slippery slope in the wrong direction. They started the season with a great win away at Glenavon, now they see themselves bottom without a win in five games. Big problems for the Ports manager Matthew Tipton. On top of that, they have conceded 17 goals already this season, the worst in the league.
Glentoran 5-1 Dungannon Swifts
All is forgiven for Mick after a draw at the Blues last week and this highly impressive win against lowly Dungannon. Fans calling for Mick’s head a few weeks ago are now starting to calm down and let him get on with it. Let’s face it, he has the talent at his disposal – maybe not between the sticks, but across the park, they are strong in every position. The goals came from Paul O’Neill, Robbie McDaid, Pat McClean, and a double for Jay Donnelly. The Swifts’ only goal of the game came through Rhyss Campbell.
Swifts now sit in tenth place, with only one win in seven games. How does Kris Lyndsey put this right? It will be hard as he has not got the depth of squad that others have. Has he got the talent? Not enough. Another big concern will be the lack of goals: only five scored this season which will not help in their push to survive.
Danske Bank Premiership