Tame Swifts crushed by Linfield

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

DUNGANNON Swifts are still searching for their first points of the season following a disappointing display again Irish League Champions Linfield at Stangmore Park.

Dungannon Swifts...0

With a heavy burst of rain prior to kick off the ball was zipping about the pitch as the game got underway but it was a birthday to forget for Swifts' boss Rodney McAree.

It was a tight and tense start with both sides playing good football.

The Swifts started in a 4-1-3-2 formation with McMenamin, Clucas, Armstrong and O'Rourke at the back and were nearly caught out early on when Addis rushed from his area to make a challenge. The ball found its way to the feet of a Linfield player but the early opportunity was blocked.

In the 11th minute the Swifts strung some good football together with O'Rourke doing well to beat his man and pick a good pass but the opportunity came to nothing.

In the first 15 minutes neither goalkeeper had much to do with both sides wasting possession and opportunities in the final third.

In the 17th minute McElroy whipped in a free-kick that was cleared by the Linfield backline.

From the resultant break, Linfield grabbed a corner that was drilled low to the edge of the box but an unmarked Stewart failed to connect as he would have hoped and the chance came to nothing.

A mix up in Linfield's defence led to an opportunity for McMahon who had one defender between him and Roy Carroll but he failed to take advantage of the opportunity and Linfield regained their shape and dealt with the danger.

The games first goal was scored in the 21st minute when a mix up in the Swifts defence meant the ball was not closed down on the wing.

An inch perfect cross from Casement picked out Paul Smyth at the back post who beat his man and made no mistake to find the back of the net.

Shortly after this Carroll was called into action as McMahon fizzed a low effort across his goal, but the 'keeper was down well to stop the ball.

McMahon's next effort was nothing to write home about as he found space on the edge of the area, took the long ball down with great control on his chest and worked the angle for the shot.

His effort, however, went high and much closer to the corner flag than he would care to remember.

Linfield were growing into the game and asking the Swifts, whose passing was becoming increasingly sloppy, more questions by the half hour mark.

With the away sides corning count growing chances were becoming few and far between for the Swifts and it seemed only a matter of time before the visitors second goal.

The game's first booking came in the 34th minute when McElroy went in hard on Mulgrew on the half way line but little came of the resultant free kick with Addis ultimately catching a tame headed effort.

Linfield were given a chance form 25 yards out when Dougie Wilson left a foot in the 38th minute.

He was given a talking to by the referee and the resultant free kick saw the games second goal.

It was a smart set piece as Mulgrew touched the ball to Mitchell, who returned it to Mulgrew, who let the ball run through his legs for Niall Quinn to thunder the ball past Stuart Addis from 25 yards.

With the score at 2-0 the Swifts were trying to get back into the game and Harpur found some space in the 41st minute but his effort from the edge of the area was handled well by Carroll.

In the 44th minute Hutchinson was also given a talking to as Linfield lined up another free kick that was cleared for a corner by the Swifts' back line.

The corner was whipped into the near post. It was met by the head of Haughey whose effort was not enough to turn it towards the goal but a touch from his marker, Seanan Clucas, turned the ball into the net.

At half time Swifts' boss Rodney McAree had much to correct.

At the start of the second half the Swifts were out early and had the first booking of the second half as Dougie Wilson talked himself into a yellow card in the 47th minute.

Linfield had the first real chance of the second half when a smart ball was drilled low across the penalty area but the attacker fell before he could convert and the referee waved away his protests for a penalty and pointed for a goal-kick.

With the result all but certain 15 minute into the second half Linfield were happy to play a possession game and break when the opportunity arose.

The Swifts were trying to attack but were struggling to create anything.

In the 60th minute the visitors made their first change when Clarke replaced Stewart shortly before Mitchell went into the book.

There was a comical moment in the 61st minute when, on the break Linfield killed their own momentum as two attackers tripped over each other before seconds later, on the edge of the area, tempers flared resulted.

From the resultant free kick Swfits gained more ground as they were awarded another free kick from 30 years out which Wilson sent into the box but it was easily dealt with by Linfield.

Rodney McAree made all three subs in the 72nd minute as Masye, Teggart and Fitzpatrick replaced Harpur, Burke and Hutchinson respectively.

Linfield made their final sub when Burns replaced the injured Paul Smyth in the 73rd minute.

In the 86th minute Mayse went into the book for a challenge on the wing. The smart free-kick resulted in a corner but Addis showed composure to collect Hughey's header.

As the game reached the closing moments Linfield stepped up the pace in search of their fourth.

Dungannon were camped in their own half at this point and conceded a free-kick in the last minute from the side of the box as Armstrong was booked for the foul and as the ball was whipped in the referee pointed to the spot.

Mitchell took the resultant penalty in the 88th minute and Addis got his hand to it, but the powerful effort smashed through his glove and into the net.

From the restart, Linfield again looked bright only for two players to collide on the edge of the box stopping the shot.

In added time McMahon had arguably the Swifts best chance when he took the ball under control in the box but failed to connect properly as he attempted to turn and shoot and the tame effort was easily cleared.

In truth Dungannon looked light and limp upfront all day and offered very little going forward. It was a comfortable victory for the defending Irish League champions.

Speaking after the game, a clearly disappoint Rodney McAree was determined to take some positives from the game.

"It's a strange one you go in at half time and you are reasonably happy with how you have played but obviously not happy with how we shipped goals," he said.

"They were all preventable and I struggle to remember the last time we were cut open by a good goal so I am disappointed from that point of view."

Dungannon Swifts: Staurt Addis; Dougals Wilson, Davdid Armstrong Peter McMahon, Paul McElroy; Ryan Harpur (Mayse (72)); Jarlath O'Rourke; Seanan Clucas; Liam McMenamin; Cormac Burk (Teggart (72)); Grant Hutchinson ((Fitzpatrick (72)).

Unused subs - Andy Coleman; Fra Brennan


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