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Lessons Learned In Reserve Loss

Date: 23 August 2014
Competition: NIFL Reserve League
Result: Linfield Swifts 4-0 Institute II

The Seconds were comprehensively defeated at Midgley Park on Saturday by an impressive Swifts side. Trailing by a single goal at the break the Drumahoe boys conceded three poor second half goals and were reduced to ten men when Darren McFadden reacted angrily to a challenge to earn him his second caution of the afternoon.

For the first twenty minutes the game was played at a frantic pace with play switching quickly from end to end. The visitors invited trouble upon themselves on a number of occasions with careless passes being intercepted in their own half of the field. Whilst Linfield broke quickly they were unable to create any real chances of note although there were enough warning signs to indicate what they were capable of. Institute took time to settle but on 28 minutes McFadden’s header across goal was intercepted by the Swifts keeper at full stretch as a number of players were lining up to turn the ball home.

Linfield raced up the other end of the pitch though and Stephen O’Donnell’s rash challenge inside the box gave the referee no option but to award a penalty which was duly dispatched to give the home side the lead.

Stute almost drew level minutes later when Lee Toland’s corner saw the ball flicked just over the bar by Dougherty at the front post. On 39 minutes McFadden received his first caution when he kicked the ball away in frustration after a free-kick had been awarded against him. On the stroke of half time Dougherty looked set to equalise from another telling ball from Toland, but a last-ditch challenge saw the ball taken off the striker’s toes just as he was about to shoot.

The visitors began the second period brightly and good build-up play between Gary Henderson and McFadden saw the big man break into the box. The bustling striker was sent tumbling but this time the referee waved away Stute’s penalty appeals. From the resulting corner John Curran headed over the bar from 8 yards. McFadden had another half-chance but, after a great through-ball, his touch was too heavy as he rounded the advancing keeper and the angle was too tight for him to shoot at the empty net.

On 64 minutes a poor clearance from Colm McLaughlin saw the ball fall to a Linfield player on the edge of the box and he showed good composure to set himself before calmly firing home to double the Swift’s lead. Ten minutes later keeper Cory Wilson received a back-pass but, under pressure, his attempted clearance was charged down and the loose ball was turned into the empty net. Within a minute it was 4-0 when another long range effort caught Wilson off guard and the ball sailed into the bottom corner.

Matters were compounded soon after when McFadden received a second yellow and the visitors were reduced to ten men. Linfield comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to maintain their 100% start to their league campaign whilst the visitors were left with lessons learned, pondering some poor defending and their failure to convert chances against a talented side.

Institute II: Wilson, Young, Toland, Curran, C. McLaughlin, O’Donnell, Henderson, Varma, Ballard, Dougherty, McFadden.

Subs: Armstrong, King, Thompson, Mulcahy.

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