Portadown 2 Crusaders 2 (20-4-2010)
Middle age is when you still believe you’ll feel better in the morning – Bob Hope
It’s been a long hard season, in what seems like one endless bus journey , hither and thither along Ulster’s highways. But hey, the craics been mighty.
When we founded the Monkstown supporters club at the start of the season, we had no idea if it would be successful. Could we sustain the numbers? Make it viable? Well done to all concerned , it’s been a resounding success. The CIS game v Portadown at Clandeboye was the only game we didn’t run a bus to and those we ran were almost filled every week . Big up to Ribs and the troops for getting to games in numbers and giving Baxter’s boys their vocal backing. Our away support has been great all season.
Our final road trip , was also our members night. There will be a lot of sore heads this morning, mine included.
The game itself was the proverbial two halfer.
Ports , quick off the block, Crusaders defending a shambles , Topley and Portadown two to the good in double quick time. The Euro dream in tatters. The cold wind and a bladder that needed constant emptying weren’t adding to this supporters sense of well-being. The season’s end couldn’t come quick enough.
Second half, spirits were downed, spirits were lifted. Alcohol consumption , outweighed any sense of foreboding and the choir kicked off . The team responded , as they have done on many a occassion. The lacklustre end of season fare was binned, we were now dining in a gourmets kitchen. Two sublime crosses, two sublime Headers and a resurgent David Rainey had us eating out of his hand. Despite the third goal never arriving , the Monkstown bus was a happy one, the ‘Jagerbomb express’ is here to stay.
Drinking is a young mans game!!!!
The continuing flying ban imposed in the light of the volanic eruption over Iceland which has caused travel chaos all over Europe , had cast a shadow over Friday’s Liverpool legends game , Thankfully Scallywag Travel have come to the rescue.
Calm Down, Calm Down
Crusaders 2 Glentoran 1 (17-4-2010)
We Know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions – Isaac Bashevis Singer
You know the end of season is upon us when the local press start their pseudo-tapping on behalf of the Big Two. You know the form, Blues target X, Glens in hunt for Y and not a single quotation from either club to corroborate the article.
Tap Tap Tap as the press predict Coates to be an Oval target. If actions speak louder than words, Coates repost was deafening. Coates headers have been as accurate as David’s biblical slingshot , felling the Big Two on three occasions this season. The badge kissing and breast beating won’t have gone unnoticed either.
Any chance of a European trip this summer hung perilously on the precipice of this result. A win was a necessity. Both sides were weakened with injuries or suspensions. The return of Ulsters most successful ever manager , Roy Coyle, in the infamous Director of Football role, a role he didn’t have any time for until realising the size of the pay packet that is . Would this be a factor in the game? Would Glentoran expectations be raised ? I think the turnout on the terraces spoke volumes. Stellar players , on stellar Wages, failing to hit the expectant heights that had the Glenmen’s dreams of back to back title triumphs , grounded long before Icelandic Volcanic ash hit the headlines.
Crusaders were magnificent , outplayed , out-thought and overpowered their illustrious opponents. After the disappointment of Solitude (result not performance) this was the perfect pick me up. Donnelly and McMaster , wing wizardry at it’s best. Mickey and McCann awesome. The Doc, Gibbo , Coates and Steeky superfluous. Young Ross , tireless. Chicken , well he was Chicken (the goals will come , I tell ya) and Chesty Rainey put in a great shift off the bench and was the difference between one point and three. Baxter in his supporters meeting on Thursday night said he hated the after match Headmasters report on the forums . Well you can take this one home Big Stevie A+’s all round.
It’s little surprise that the vultures at the Oval would like to pick over the bones of the wee Crues , when you see the passion and commitment Stephen Baxter can get out of our team. The wages collected by the Glens forward line, would fund our whole team. It’s nothing short of miracle-working.
Cost cutting and prudent budgeting are the order of the day down Seaview way this summer, as it’s not just me , Whitey and Tom the Hatchet’s belts that are in for some tightening. However, when you have an inspiring and dedicated man at the helm like Mr Baxter , well that’s something that money just can’t buy.
Roll on Portadown, we have scores to settle.
Keep the faith!!
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders o (8-4-2010)
For What do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? – Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
You know it’s not going to be your night, when you get stuck in the turnstiles , Sky Cameras rolling and three busloads of your support behind you. If Soccer A.M. get hold of the footage, I will die a death! Oh how the mighty , must’ve got mightier.
In an earlier post , I alluded to the fact that I didn’t consider Cliftonville to be our main rivals. I’m now convinced of the fact. If we had lost to the Blues in that manner last night, I would have been in hibernation for two or three days, the laptop wouldn’t have been opened, mobile switched off , and all newspapers left unread. The fact I was up at 630am , on a holiday, reading forum posts , waiting on the paper shop to open at 8 and still smiling at the world, speaks volumes.
Good luck to the Reids I say, they’ve bounced back from their disappointment of May 9th last year and have certainly outperformed us this season. Sure they’ve had luck on their side at times, but lady luck in her truest form is often just down to the right call of a tossed coin. Whether Declan Caddell’s tumble in the box , was a penalty or a dive, at the time I thought it was neither, is neither here or there. This defeat was more to do with our own shortcomings than any cruel twist of fate.
I called it in the match preview. Crusaders are pure and simply shot shy. I’m not for pointing fingers or apportioning blame. Injuries have made a mockery of our season. Our two main strikers have missed large swathes of the season, the two youngsters behind them have battled away , but there is no substitution for experience. Rainey, Dickson and Owens all had goal tally’s in their late teens last season. Rainey was white-hot , pre christmas, as we roared into an early lead in the title race. Injury has curtailed his season, decimated Dicksons and the pressure of leading the line has landed a heavy burden on young Owens considerable shoulders. Midfield and defence haven’t contributed too many goals either.
Cliftonville’s goal was always going to come once they had the numerical advantage, shock was how it came about, poor judgement by Keenan, but he made amends with several top class saves to keep it from becoming a rout.
As for Cliftonville, (they will miss the lad Boyce if his cross-channel move comes off. He’s a wonderful talent) hope Crusaders can do them a favour as they chase the Blues . Not through any North Belfast love in, but more out of the necessity of my sanity. Being Humped by the Blues at Seaview has to end sometime , here’s hoping it’s just around the corner.