Sky Blue Sport News

Monday, December 15, 2014

Break'r Duck!

Strange headline you might think, but in our opinion it sums up what United have got to do at Ferney Park tomorrow night, kick-off  08-00pm. We have got to break our scoring duck at the Mallards ground if we are going to triumph and get to the Wasps league cup final for the first time in our history. At the other end will be the Mallards, with a vociferous home crowd behind them, trying to make sure we don't break our duck.

We have met the Mallards two times this season and the scoreline has been the same both times, a 3-0 win for the home team, so no form pointers there, except the home team seem to have the advantage. So we are up against it tomorrow night and we will have to do it the hard way, with virtually the same team as surrendered on Saturday when the Crues chalked an easy 2-0 victory against us. We say surrendered, but our manager thinks we got a raw deal and could have got something from the game.

Well football manager look at things differently, they discount the easy chances the other team miss and focus on their teams misses. It's true to say we had chances, but we couldn't put the ball in the back of net and that's what counts. If we have a plan and hold the home team to 0-0 after an hour, we just might nick one late on in the game. With this in mind will Fergie have young Matty Shevlin on the bench, coming on in last third of the game, the youngster could swing it for us.

But if we know Fergie, it will just the same old panel of players and he'll be  hoping for a miracle, but we are afraid he's going to be disappointed. He always says the players train well, but when they get out on the field, they seldom perform well, hopefully tonight they didn't train well and maybe they'll up their game tomorrow night. We'll be there to record it for posterity, hoping for a United victory to take us the Wasps league cup final, so come on Sky Blues, lets shag those Ducks!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jack Frost!

The weather may play a big part in deciding if United go to Fermanagh, on Tuesday next on the back of a win against the 'hatchet men of Crusaders. The weather forecasters tell us that it will freeze tonight but should be dry tomorrow. But will the notorious Showgrounds pitch thaw out in time for the visit of the Crues, only time will tell. Cookie should be available for selection tomorrow having served his one match ban and maybe Fergie will come up with a plan to stop our leaking of goals.

Make no mistake about it, we are the underdogs tomorrow, the Crues have stuttered a bit after trouncing north Belfast rivals, Chickenville, but they are still in 4th place. But as has been proved no later than tonight, anybody can beat anybody in this league, when bottom club Warrenpoint Town, beat league leaders Portadown to toss the cat among the pigeons, so to speak. Will Fergie try to play defensive tactics against the the men of Tigers Bay? In short we don't know, but we are short on personnel anyway and really short on defenders and midfield tacklers.

Will he add our new sensation , striker Matty Shevlin, to his panel or is he keeping him for Tuesday night's game against the Ducks. We totally agree that Matty shouldn't be exposed to the rigours of Premier league football, week in  and week out, but neither should he be wrapped in cotton wool. There's an old saying, 'if you're good enough, you're old enough' and that young man has the physique and know how to look after himself against the hatchet men. We don't think he should start, heaven forbid, but he should be among the subs, if we need to call upon him.

There's to be a new turnstile in operation for fans using the car park behind the home stand, it's to be situated at the Fisherwick end of the home stand, adjacent to Block A. Disabled fans can still use the reception area and the lift to the home stand, but all other able-bodied fans must use the new turnstile, health & safety gone mad, we think. Don't forget to read Omar's column about the season so far, entitled Topsy Turvy, it sums our season so far. We only hope the forecasters have got it correct and tomorrow will break nice and sunny and thawing, so come on Sky Blues, lets shag those paper tigers!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Shore Up!

What can we say, we leave for our winter break to the sun and United collapse and undo all the work they previously done, in one fell swoop. We gather it wasn't a pleasant watch last Saturday and for the second time this year, we were undone by a corner, given by the referee, that wasn't a corner and then the smelly stuff hit the fan. Rusty Ray informed us that Tippers should have had a hat-trick in the first-half and we had several other chances.

But its goals that count, on the plus side we only lost 3 points and we think we managed not to pick up any other injuries, which always will be a plus for a team decimated with injuries. Still we haven't a clue who Spike will opt to stand in for the suspended Cookie. Will it be Marky, or does he drop Captain Jenks back or try Mike Ruddy again, as he has done before. The one thing's for sure, he can't afford to let Linfield pick holes in our defence like Chickenville did last week.

The IFA team are not firing on all cylinders, but they're still grinding out results and they are firmly entrenched in the top six, so they'll not be a pushover by any means. But United have to bounce back after last Saturday's collapse and they'll never be a better time to do it. Linfield are not the invincible team they were, but they still manage to ground out wins against us and they'll no doubt be looking for the same result tomorrow.

But we must put our last mishap behind us and the players owe us a favour and we at 'Sport hope to see every player trying his eye-strings out. Then and then, could we hope to gain anything from this difficult game. Its two and half years since we beat Linfield in the league, in the first game of the 2012 season, with two Jamie Davidson goals, it would be nice to repeat the dose. But Jamie is no longer available, so somebody else will have to step up to the plate.

Who will it be we wonder, we cannot see Spike starting Matty Shevlin, who was an unused sub last week, but what other secret weapon have we got in our panel. With the all the will in the world we cannot see Tippers or Darboy rise to the occasion, but who knows? We don't know and we don't care who it is, but we need him/them really badly. Maybe it will be our manager's boy, now wouldn't that be a turn up for the books, so come on Sky Blues, let's shag those Belfast sheep!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Late Show!

Apologies about the late preview, as we were not going to be there, we hadn´t realised that as we are in Spain, enjoying the rain and it is winter, the internet cafes close early or don´t open at all. But its a an ill wind that doesn´t blow some good and the delay helped us get the right info on Dwayne´s appearances in a Sky Blue keepers jersey. We thought he was playing his 200 game next Saturday at home to Linfield, but we have been informed, that indeed its this Saturday against Chickenville.

We hope Dwayne has a good game and enjoys his milestone and the Sky Blues pick up three points in our absence. Our manager Glenn Feguson told the Ballymena Times that he was hopeful that, Tippers, Gawley and Ruddy would shake off their respective injuries and be able to take their place in an unchanged team. He also was hopeful that Sparky would take heart from his brilliant performance last week and try his luck against Chickenville.

We hope twitter keeps us up to date on todays game, but failing that, Rusty Rea promises to be at the Solitude and I´m sure he´ll keep us informed. Health & Safety have stuck their neb in yet again and decreed that the Boxing Day game against the Coleraine scum is going to be an all ticket affair. Well maybe on the plus side we´ll get a true reflection of the crowd not an estimate, we should stress an estimate that´s for our benefit.

Much has been said about the debut boy, Matty Shevlin, but we won´t be surprised if he doesn´t make the panel today, for Fergie wants to not over-expose, as he is only fifteen. We agree with that, but we need the three points and if Matty coming on in the last ten mins, with a fresh pair of legs and confidence to take men on, could get us them, we´d be foolish not to have him on the bench. But as has been said before many times in this blog, what do we know?

We´re sure Fergie must have a plan to combat Chickenville´s all-action style of play, but it hasn´t worked so far. It nearly worked at The Showgrounds on the last Saturday in Septemeber, but you know the old saying, ´nearly never caugh the hare´but we live in hope. We apologise for any spelling mistakes in this column, we don´t have a spell checker and anyway it would be in Spanish, lol. So come on Sky Blues, lets shore those North Belfast sheep at Chickenville!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ducks Delight!

It's raining cats and dogs here, but its a nice night for the ducks, at least that's what they say anyway, only time will tell if the Mallards like it tomorrow. Fans connected with the Sky Blues, have been asking for an update on injured players, but it was always played down by management, so we at 'Sport were shocked this week, when our Sports Therapist (water and sponge man), Gordon McCartney, gave us just that. But immediately Omar's suspicions were aroused, might our management team be playing a 'double bluff', stranger things have happened.

Our manager Spike, has hinted that maybe JT and Steeky, could be added to the panel, but we need to see them back on the team. If the rain continues to fall, might Spike take a chance on Cookie, alongside Captain Jenks, therefore releasing Ruddy to cover at leftback, where we have a serious shortage. In the absence of Brian Mack, we expect Alan D to get a start, alongside Sparky and Thommo, with the barber and Darboy on the flanks and Tippers ploughing a lone furrow upfront, a position that he's not cut for, but needs must.

The Ducks had a good win at 'Stute last week and they'll be fairly confident of turning Ballymena over and getting a much needed confidence boost for the league cup semi-final, at their place in mid-December. We haven't a clue how we are going to win this one, with half of our squad decimated with injuries, but win it we must, as our next three games are tough by anyone's standard, so its mini-crunch time. We need full points tomorrow and we need to get a bit of confidence going, so come on Sky Blues, let's shag those Christmas Ducks!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Wet Point!

According to Twitter, there's to be an inspection at ten am tomorrow at Milltown, Warrenpoint's ground. We've been assured by the powers that 'be' at the Point (two men sitting in a local bar), that the game will definitely go ahead and supporters needn't worry about about the game being postponed. But what team will Sky Blues manager, Spike, put out tomorrow, bearing in mind the huge injury list at Warden Street. Does he persevere with Captain Jenks at central defence or does he restore Mike Ruddy, that is if he recovers from a groin strain, picked up last Saturday.

Our talisman, Cush, has went through his operation on Thursday, to have a bone shaved on his knee, but it will be at least 6 weeks before he can return to the fray. In the absence of Ally, ankle injury, Spike only has one winger to select, Neal Gawley, who incidentally doubled his score tally against the Swifts on Tuesday night. Omar was speculating that Darboy was maybe being geared up to fill on the left in Cushley's absence, but our management team wouldn't say, when asked today. Does Spike take a chance and play Marky, therefore releasing Tony to midfield?

Sparky, whom we have been championing, had a poor game on Tuesday and as the Point are fighting to stay alive and preserve their senior status, we can't afford to carry any passengers. The same can be said for Thommo, he was less than impressive on Tuesday, but as Spike signed him, he'll probably play him. The rest of the team picks itself, with Dwayne, Cookie, Archie. Mack, Gawley, Captain Jenks and Tippers certain starters. We'll have to pack our bench with at least three reserve players and hope we don't have to delve too far into our depleted stocks.

Its promises to be a hard fought game, as already the Point are averaging a half point a game and they desperately need a win or at least a draw to stop the rot. This game for United, represents a chance to stop the slide, after five league defeats in a row, but we'll need to be up for it. The ref is Evan Boyce, not a name we're familiar with, but he can't be any worse than incompetents we had already this season. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we won't have a presence at this game. So come on Sky Blues, its time to stand up and be counted and lets shag those Rabbits!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cushley Blow!

As if United hadn't enough injuries worries on their plate, comes the devastating news that top scorer Cush, is due in hospital later in the week to have a bone scraped on his knee. We don't have a clue what that entails, do they have to open him up, or can it be done with key-hole surgery, which shortens the recovery time. Will Cush be fit to play tomorrow night, we ask? If not, we are having to dip into the reserves, for we reckon we have only have 14 fit men.

Out already are JT, Kyley, Ruddy, Ally, Gavin and maybe Cush, which leaves us with the bare bones. A lot of people are trying to second guess Spike, but we at 'Sport know from painful experience, he is his own man. Whatever players he picks and whatever formation he goes for, we at 'Sport would like to see have at least one ball-winner in midfield. But Spike seems to firmly believe that his centre-midfield pairing of Thommo and Captain Jenks, works.

We sadly think he is far mistaken and we have paid the penalty, losing five games in a row, with teams making inroads to our defence, because we lack defensive midfielders. We are urging him to get at least one ball-winner in his line-up tomorrow night, for our opponents, Dungannon, like to play football in midfield and we need to stop them. Otherwise we can kiss goodbye to our hopes of progressing to a semi-final in the league cup for a second season running.

We know it will be hard game, the Swifts league position, 11th place, has no bearing on the outcome of this game. Swifts manager Darren Murphy, will be emphasising to his team, the recent bad spell that United are going through at the minute and he'll have his team well up for the task in hand. We have to be prepared to fight 'fire' with 'fire', we need every player to be singing off the same hymn sheet and we need to return to our 'never say die' attitude that's been missing in the last month. COSB, you can do it, you owe us big time!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Rule Benders!

United take on the Coleraine scum at Warden Street tomorrow, safe in the knowledge that nothing has changed in the scum philosophy, they're still bending the rules. This latest episode, of the suspended Rory Harkin, who played last week although he shouldn't have played, is just typical of the scum, they thumb their noses at authority and get away with it time and time again. United have to ignore these shenanigans and not allow themselves to be distracted from the job in hand. Whether Rory Harkin plays tomorrow or doesn't play tomorrow, shouldn't concern us, we have enough trouble getting 16 fit men in our squad.

JT and Tony are suspended, but JT is not fit anyway, neither is Steeky or Gavin, so we have four near certain starters missing tomorrow's game, before we start to plan out tactics. The 'Sport crew would be in favour of a formation of ,5,4,1 but Fergie is liable to start with a 4,4,2, or a 4,1,4,1. We feel he has to bring back Marky, Archie and Sparky, but he's liable to start with Thommo and Jenks in midfield and we feel that's a recipe for disaster. In the absence of Gavin, we feel that Sparky has to start, to give us some bite in midfield, but Spike has his own ideas and he's stubborn.

He's thrown down the gauntlet to his players, saying that they are on trial, but that may work with some of them, but we think, that will not work with all of them. Best to pick a team that could get a result, it will not be pretty to watch, but we need to get our foundation right. Better to battle out a scoreless draw, than have a go and get thumped. But we have the players to snatch all three points, if we get the scum frustrated they will undoubtedly leave gaps at the back and we can exploit them, but if we are chasing the game, its going to tough.

Its a corporate dinner day tomorrow and we are assured of a bumper crowd in the main stand, the scum supporters will no doubt filter in at halftime, as their wont. But Sky Blues supporters need to get behind the team from the start, drowning the noise from the other side of the pitch and not letting up until the final whistle. Just a word about the whistler, it is our old friend, Heth, who hasn't refereed a game involving us since the ill-fated match at Lurgan, when he gave a corner that was a goal-kick, we hope he doesn't drop any clangers tomorrow v the scum.

Whatever selection, Spike and his management team come up with, we only can hope for one thing, that they play together as a team. This game means a lot to the fans of a Sky Blue persuasion, it's the one game that we want to win more than any other. We're not looking for a good football match, we just expect the players to put in a shift, if they do that and they come up short, we'll be disappointed no doubt, but we can live with that. But if they turn in a lack-lustre performance like we saw in our last two games, they can expect us to vent our wrath on them. So come on Sky Blues, lets shag those sheep from Windy Hall!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oval N'out!

United go into this game tomorrow against the Glens, knowing that they're on the slippery slope to be doomed to a bottom six position when the final tally comes up at end of March 2015. Admittedly its early days yet, we haven't reached the halfway point, tomorrow's game is only our fifteenth, but its the attitude that typifies the way teams react to adversity. So far we aren't reacting very well and the manager isn't helping us with wholesale changes.

He had to change things, but we at 'Sport think he changed things too much. He only needed a change in tactics, but he went the whole hog and changed personnel and left us with no pace at the back and that was a recipe for disaster last Saturday against Glenavon. We are told that we have someone vetting the opposition for us at least a week before we play them. Did the vetter not say, 'better watch for Braniff' or did he think it was too obvious.

For whatever reason, we let him have the freedom of the park and he punished us heavily. Did the vetter not say 'don't let crosses come in', or again was that too obvious to mention. We got punished for letting crosses in., but on the plus side, they didn't score from any set-pieces, in truth they had no need to. Tomorrow we have to have a fresh attitude, it's not too late to arrest this decline, form is temporary and class is permanent, we badly need to show our class.

We have the players to do it in Tony, Cookie, Jenks, Cush, Ally and Tippers, six men that could step in to any team, but can they raise their game to get us a win tomorrow. At the time this is published we haven't a clue whether JT is fit enough to play, so we may have to soldier on with Kyley. Archie is definitely suspended after his harsh sending-off on Tuesday night, but we wouldn't be surprised to see Spike bring back Gawley and Cush.

Does Fergie persevere with Darboy, who could have sealed the tie at Chickenville in the 93rd minute with a bit of composure? We suspect yes he will give him every chance to rediscover his form against the Glens, a former team of Darboy's and the Coleraine scum next week, another former club. Surely Gavin and Captain Jenks will play and its a toss up between Ruddy and Steeky for the leftback spot. We know its a big ask, but would the 'real Sky Blues' turn-up and lets put these townies to the Sword COSB!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Sword n'Shield!

United need to keep one thought uppermost on their mind tomorrow night at Solitude, put them chickens of Chickenville, to the sword. Fergie has to admit he made a mistake on Saturday and restore Archie, Tony and JT, if he is available, to his starting line-up. We at 'Sport believe Darboy has to be given another start, its obvious Cush is not working as Tippers partner, Cush just does his own thing and he's better on the wing, where he can move freely, cutting inside if the notion takes him or going on a mazy run, not tied down to a position.

The 'Sports team are not and have never been, Captain Jenks fans, but we admit he's the best general we have in midfield, alongside that unsung hero, Gavin. Dwayne was ridiculed by United fans on forums about his clanger letting in Glenavon's third goal on Saturday, but we were already a beaten team and we had a few close shaves throughout the game from our back-passes, so Dwayne's is being made the scapegoat for bad play. Even in the years when you could pass to the keeper, it was a risky back-pass in our opinion and we'll need him tomorrow night.

Sparky, free from his suspension, should come in to the panel and if Cookie shows no ill effect from Bradley's blatant elbow, which only merited a yellow card from referee Marshall, he'll be a handy lad to have on the bench. The one dilemma for Spike should be who he selects at wing opposite Cush, Ally or the barber, Gawley. Its going to be a hard decision to make but if he picks Tony in defence, he has a perfect opportunity to go with Ally and not lose completely a long-throw specialist and we can't remember us ever scoring from one of them.

Chickenville manager, Tommy Breslin, hinted on Saturday Sportsound of giving his fringe players a run-out, but knowing Tommy of old, Spike, has to take no notice of such talk. Tommy made a fatal mistake three seasons ago and fielded a weakened team against United in a County Antrim Shield tie at the Showgrounds and subsequently lost that match and United went on to win the Shield that year to boot. So we expect Tommy to pick a decent team, maybe rest two or three players, but not make wholesale changes. So it's up to us, come on Sky Blues, lets shag those Chickens, the semi-final beckons,COSB!