After Friday and Saturday’s matches, we are back with another Team of the Week.
Our goalkeeper yet again is Richard Brush for Ballinamallard United. Despite losing 2-0 to Carrick, it could have been a lot worse if not for another game where the man between the sticks made another fantastic string of saves to stop the Ducks losing by a more embarrassing score line.
At right back this week is another player who has featured a couple of times already in Linfield’s Chris Casement along with his left back counterpart Niall Quinn. In a game where Linfield struggled going forward, the back line held firm for the fourth game in a row meaning they still have not conceded a goal. Casement and Quinn, as well as contributing well defensively, got forward well to help out going forwards and offered the midfield trio another option out wide, with the front three interchanging positions and playing quite narrow.
To go with our two Linfield full backs, both our centre backs are from Carrick, a team who have started the season well to surprise many, in Denver Gage and Paddy McNally. The two centre backs played an essential part in helping Carrick to their first clean sheet of the season. Along with goal keeper Harry Doherty, the stopped Ballinamallard from threatening for large parts of the game, giving the team a solid platform to go forward.
Our wide midfielders this week are another player for Carrick and Linfield in Lee Chapman and Paul Smyth respectively. Chapman had another good game for Carrick on the right side, giving the Mallards a torrid time on that side of the field with his direct running at the. For Smyth, meanwhile, it seems, somewhat appropriately, that his first appearance in the Team of the Week will also be his last, as it seems he will be joining QPR in the English Championship. Smyth moved to the right of Linfield’s front three after Jordan Stewart had to be replaced after picking up a knock. He was unlucky not to score with a fantastic strike from the edge of the area being tipped over by Ballymena goalkeeper Conor Brennan. Smyth also played a delightful ball that led to Andy Mitchell being brought down for a penalty that would be converted to give the Blues a 1-0 win.
I have only picked one central midfielder this week in the man just mentioned Andy Mitchell. He initially struggled in the game but started to come into it more, admittedly after being moved to right midfield as Linfield tried a change of shape to break down a stubborn United defence. Mitchell’s movement off the ball was good as he always offered himself as an option to receive the ball shown with a fantastic run made to get on the end of Smyth’s pass only to be brought down as he tried to turn inside to shoot and emphatically finished the penalty himself.
The reason there is only one central midfielder is to fit three strikers again in, being Bobby Burns, Robbie McDaid and Andy Mooney for Glenavon, Glentoran and Carrick respectively. Glenavon’s young starlet, Burns impressed yet again with his energy against Glentoran as he picked up the man of the match award. McDaid meanwhile has only recently signed for Glentoran and was returning to his former stomping ground at Mourneview since being signed by Leeds. Coming off the bench with his side trailing 1-0, McDaid scored two goals to turn the game on its head only for a late equaliser to be conceded. Andy Mooney scored another two goals for Carrick in differing styles, earning his spot on this team. The first was a fantastic finish to lob ‘keeper Brush opportunistically after having the ball presented to him by Aaron Canning. For the second he made a strong run down the left before cutting in and finishing.