Sky Blue Sport News

Friday, October 02, 2015

Crues Control!

United go into the game tomorrow undefeated in their last 7 games, but in that time we haven't been too convincing, except for the Chickenville game. But that game was a one-off and at least Tommy Breslin, saw the writing on the wall and resigned. Tomorrow we take on Champions Crues, who haven't been beaten since early August and they'll be our toughest test since we went on this unbeaten run.

That said, they're missing three key players in Heatley, Forsythe and Captain Coates and although they've got players to come in, those three are going to be missed and it gives us a glimmer of hope. But we'll still need to be at the top of our game, we can't afford any passengers and with that in mind our manager Spike, needs to pick his strongest side.

As usual we didn't get a heads-up about injuries, so we don't know if Gareth Rodger, is fit again, or if indeed he wasn't fit last week, or he was just rested. But if the Scotsman is fit, we would expect him to play and our manager just has to decide who to leave out, between Tony and Faulkner. Ex-Captain Jenks, has been below par in our last two games, but we fully expect him to play tomorrow.

We will need leaders on the pitch tomorrow and Jenks fits in to that category very nicely, as well as Tippers and current team Captain, Jimer. The Crues are not renowned for their football, they are for the most part a 'hoof ball' side, but when they inevitably get secondary possession, they can stroke about very nicely and we have got to prepared for that scenario.

If we starve their forwards of clear-cut chances, especially Owens and get passes through to Tippers and young Matty, we maybe can surprise them, but it'll be tough and bruising and we're stuck with referee Ian McNabb, who knows all about the rules, but he's afraid to administer them. We can't expect any help there, we've got to do it on our own, so come on Sky Blues, lets shag those paper Tigers!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bad Manners!

Its normally said, its bad manners to point, but let us point out a few facts. We haven't had three points at Warrenpoint's ground yet, even when the floodlights failed and we were leading, the 'Point got back to get a point. So the omens are not good for tomorrow's game, a crucial game if we want to climb up the Premier league table. A draw would not be a complete disaster, but a defeat, however unthinkable, would leave us in the mire. With that in mind we think our manager will select his strongest eleven to do battle and wrest the points away from the 'Point.

Young Matty, according to reports, is to be the subject of a bid from English Premier league outfit, Crystal Palace, but we have need of him tomorrow and we hope he's not too distracted by all this talk of his impending transfer. He has, single-handed, gave us the lift that we needed after our lack-lustre start to our Premier league campaign. His movement in the opposition box has led to goals or penalties, as he is lightening quick and defenders can't deal with him and end up fouling him.

We have got to exploit that tomorrow, which means getting the ball in the box with precise passers and not trying to do it with one pass and failing miserably, like last Saturday's efforts. We will need guile to get past the the hosts, they are fighting for points also and we need to stamp our authority in the game early on. We were hoping for a strong referee, but we got Arnold Hunter, so we can expect no help there, but he's better than Crangle, but only just.

We've no injury news, surprise, surprise and we hope Tippers rest on Tuesday night did him some good. In Tuesday night's game, Tony and the Barber, switched positions for the last 25 mins and we thought is Spike trying something to see if Tony could play on the right of midfield, where Faulkner is struggling to make an impact, despite getting a lot of game time. Only time will tell, so it is all systems go for tomorrow, so come on Sky Blues (Yellows actually), lets shag those Rabbits!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Shield!

No this is not reference to Ballymena being based in Mid-Antrim, more of a hint to our manager to pick a strong team to do battle with Glebe Rangers tomorrow night. He should have learnt a valuable lesson, when he picked fringe players against Ballymoney United in the league cup a couple of seasons ago and very nearly paid the penalty, pardon our accidental pun.

We expect him to ring a few changes tomorrow night, Blaney in for Dwayne, could be one and he definitely has to get someone in for the suspended Ruddy, either Steeky or Hanley. Owen Kane and Faulkner, both looked wooden on Saturday and they could be rested with Magennis and Tony promoted or maybe the Barber and keep Tony in reserve for extra time, ha,ha, just our little joke.

But if we don't give a professional performance, we could have penalties to decide or perish the thought, end up with egg on our faces and out of the Shield. We have already struggled against a first division side, namely Moyola, this season and we don't want a repeat. A slip shod performance like last Saturday will not do, we need to be up for this one.

If we tidy up our possession and don't try to do all with one pass, we should have too much for the First Division side. But on the other hand if we approach it like we have a god given right to win, we are going to struggle big time and we must be prepared for a shock. So come on Sky Blues, let's be up for this game and shag those Glebe sheep and get into the next round of our Shield (joke)!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fluffy Ducks!

If it seems a silly headline, its not meant to be taking seriously, as we know the visitors will be anything except fluffy. Meetings between ourselves and the men from Fermanagh, tend to be feisty encounters and we at 'Sport expect tomorrows game to be no exception. If all our players came through unscathed after last weeks encounter with Chickenville, we'll not be surprised to see our manager select the same side.

It all depends if Spike, thinks young Matty, is not too distracted by his time in London last week where he was on trial at Crystal Palace. Its not thought that on-loan signing, Gareth Rodger, will get a s start, or whether he will need yet another weeks rehabilitation in Perth, to get fully fit. If Matty is not available for selection, we expect Spike, to select Darhen, alongside Tippers, but we really need Matty on, to keep on kick-starting our season.

After two league victories in succession, against Glentoran  and Chickenville, totally unexpected we should in all fairness say, we now come up against a so called lesser team. But we know from painful experience in this league, every team has the potential to beat every other team, so we must be wary and not count our chickens (fluffy ducks), before they're hatched. With our old friend Alvin Rouse, in nets for the ducks, we must be patient and not play to their strengths.

No high balls into the box, where Rouse and the Ducks defence will be all over them. Better show some subtlety and exploit  them with Matty's pace and the youngsters got pace to burn and he's not afraid to take defenders on, as Chickenville found to their cost last Saturday. If we turn in a committed performance, with everybody United, we think we will have too much firepower for the Ducks. So come on Sky Blues, lets us de-fluff those ducklings!

Friday, September 11, 2015

We're United!

With the news that Tony Kane and Gavin Taggart, have been reinstated after their suspensions were revoked, we're truly United again. It's great to see two lads, that never gave less than 100%, every time they pulled a Sky Blue jersey on, back in the fold. It gives our manager, two extra players in his panel and maybe he'll be able to give the youngsters a bit of a break, but not we pray, Matty!

According to Stephen Alexander, of the BT, Matty is not long for these shores and we should savour every moment we can and we'll appreciate what a football talent he is. Stephen, is preaching to the converted as far as Sky Blue Sport is concerned, for we saw him when had yet to make his senior debut, playing for the reserves and we were begging our manager to give him  a start in the team, long before he did.

There's an old saying that goes,'if you're big enough, you're old enough' and Matty's definitely big enough and at sixteen, he's definitely old enough as well. But we digress, what of the team for tomorrow's game, we hear you ask? Definitely missing is on-loan signing Gareth Rodger, out with a hamstring injury, which usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal properly, but what do we know?

But he's a young man and he could be a quick healer, we'll just have to wait and see. Does the manager continue with his policy of slotting Captain Jimer in alongside side JT, or does he call Kyley or take a chance on Paddy Mac. A hard choice but one he has to get correct, for Chickenville, will seek out any weak spots and exploit them relentlessly.

Does he take a chance on Gavin or Tony, both restored to the fold and move Owen Kane, back up to centre-midfield, where he had such an impact last Saturday, before he had to revert to rightback when Rodger's had to come off. Barring injuries and we are the last to know about them, we expect, Jenks, Faulkner and Cush to play in midfield and Tippers and Matty up front.

The manager appeared to be unhappy with Dwayne's positioning for the Glens goal, but we expect him to get the nod, although Blaney's fit again, but Dwayne did show good composure when we got our noses in front last Saturday. That only leaves the most improved player to mention, Mike Ruddy. Mike has made the leftback berth his own after replacing Steeky, long may he continue in the vein.

So its all systems for three points tomorrow, it'll definitely will not be easy, but we must be up for it. We must forget about all that happened last season, including our famous victory in the Irish cup game. This is a new season and a new ball game and we should want to stamp our authority on the game as we are at home, so come on Sky Blues, lets shag those North Belfast Chickens!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Those Were!

How does that old song go...'those were the days my friend I thought they'd never end, we sing and dance for ever and a day', etc.etc. Well we at Sky Blue Sport can remember a time when trips to the Oval, to play the Belfast Glens, were filled with anticipation. We had good reason to believe (or so we thought), when our present manager, Glenn Ferguson, took over the reigns at the Showgrounds, that the Oval would continue to be a 'home, from' to us.

Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact the Glens say we haven't beaten then in nine games. We don't know if their facts are right or not, but we only know that last season we capitulated in the second-half, falling like a pack of cards and shipping four goals. Our management  team, steeped in the traditions of big two derbies, were bereft of ideas and succumbed to a resounding defeat and ruined a perfectly good weekend for us spectators.

Tomorrow we take on the Glens, with our worst starting record for sixty years reportedly, Omar says he was ten years-old, ancient times indeed. But we got a faint glimmer of hope in that the Glens are not setting the league alight themselves and are noticing the loss of top player Jordan Stewart and we can hope to exploit that, but we have got to be more clinical in front of goal. In our last game at Moyola we should have had the game sewn up at halftime, as we missed several clear-cut chances.

Tomorrow we will be punished if we don't take our chances, our policy has to be get in there quick, get one or two goals up and try to defend that. With that in mind we'd implore Glenn, to start with young Matty and Leroy and leave Darhen and Tippy for bringing on the 2nd half, when the Glens are chasing the game and maybe they can hit them on the break. It's not going be easy, we have Heth as referee and we will have to be squeaky clean, to try not invoke his wrath.

Jimer should be eligible, having served his one game suspension and if Mike Ruddy is fit, Owen Kane and Nathan should make way for them. We don't think Glenn will change the team too much, maybe the Barber will get a run out, where he can stretch the Glens defence. As we said we all for starting Matty and Leroy, but fully expect Glenn, to stick with Tippers and Darhen. Either way we have got to be on top of our game, or we will perish. So come on Sky Blues, lets shag those East Belfast sheep!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Just Another!

Strange headline you might think, but it's not just another game, but its a potential disaster for our club, giving the start we've had to this season. After 5 games we sit at the bottom of the Premier league table (on goal difference), with one point. We also have the worst disciplinary record in the Premier league, with an average of 3 players booked per game and two sending-offs. Tonight we come up against Championship 2 side, Moyola Park, who gave us a lesson in finishing in a friendly in the  close-season.

We must confess we haven't been to Moyola's ground and that looks set to continue as Omar has car trouble and we won't get to the game this evening. But enough about our troubles, its the wee Sky Blues troubles that we should be concerned about. A good result in this evenings game would be a narrow victory and no yellow cards, but its more likely to be  penalty kicks and a spate of bookings. No doubt we want to win this game, we got to the final last season and would like to do so again, but we have been given a hard draw away to Moyola.

Forget about league form, Moyola are two divisions below us and in the lower reaches of that league, but we suspect this is their cup-final, they will want to go down fighting. For that reason we think Spike, will do them the honour of selecting a strong side, in an effort to get a result, rather than have to depend on the dreaded penalty shoot-out. If we score first, we could go on to win easily or not so hard anyway, but if on the other hand if we should concede, it'll be a hard uphill battle.

When the going gets tough we are usually found wanting, but just for tonight, we got to be tough ourselves and ruthless in attack. No namby pamby football, be clinical in front of goal and get the job done and get into the next round, its all that matters. There's talk of us signing a Larne player at the eleventh hour, a striker if you please, but no news as yet. But we digress, for the moment we are up for the JBE league cup, so come on Sky Blues, lets shag those Castledawson sheep!

P.S. There maybe a glimmer of hope on Omar's car trouble, fingers crossed, we'll hope for the best and COSB!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ranger Danger!

Carrick Rangers come to town this Friday, 19-45, hoping to inflict further misery on the sorry Sky Blues, who have played 4 games and lost 4 games, not an enviably record by any means. Carrick, have started off reasonably well in this their first season back in the Premiership, with ex-United skipper, big Gary Haveron, as their manager. Gazza has done well, since Roy Walker, in his infinite wisdom, showed him the door on his Sky Blue career.

Gazza, admits he has a soft spot for us, but that will go out the window, when his side take on United tomorrow night at the Showgrounds. He and his team of at least one ex-United player, will see this as a chance to get a result at United's expense. So its imperative that we get a good start tomorrow night, not like our last two games at the Showgrounds, where our defences were breached in the first 2 mins.

Spike, seems to think our problems lie in defence and with that in mind, he got Gary Rodger, a young Scottish central-defender on-loan from big Tam Wright's St Johnstone. But when our midfield lost possession at Stangmore Park last Saturday, Gary was left exposed and missed with a saving header and the Swifts put the tie beyond United. The all too familiar story unfolded, when we lost possession in midfield, our defence just collapsed and we succumbed to another defeat.

But Spike, is obsessed with fitting square pegs in round holes, Thommo, Falkner and his son, Matthew Ferguson, couldn't tackle a fish supper amongst them, but Spike continues to play them and their like and wonders how opponents get through us so easily. He keeps hitting out at United fans, calling them keyboard warriors and the likes, instead  of addressing the problem and strengthening his midfield with at least one tackler.

As luck would have it, Rangers has such a midfielder in their books, who Spike in his wisdom released this season, none other than Mark 'Sparky' Surgenor. Sparky's presently showing his versatility, by playing at central defence for Carrick, at the moment and will no doubt relish inflicting some pain on his former team-mates. Can Spike awake from his slumbers and select team a team to match the 'Gers or are we doomed to be also-rans again.

If we can get a result tomorrow night, be it a draw or by some miracle a win, it could kick-start our season, or at least give us some belief. But if on the other hand we suffer the same fate as we suffered in last 4 games, I reckon our board will have to act as Spikes job will become untenable. We had a difficult first there games and it was understandable how we didn't get anything from them. But the next two looked winnable and the crunch comes tomorrow night.

This is make or break for us we think, no more chances for Spike and the 3 baldies, it's 'die dog or shite the licence' time. With a League cup game away to Moyola Park coming up next Tuesday, followed by 2 league games away to the Glens and home to the Reds, its difficult to see us getting any points, with our confidence shot to pieces, so a result tomorrow night seems inevitable. So come on United, lets shag those Fergus sheep!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Late News!

Firstly let us apologise for not doing this news bulletin last night. What can we say, except drink has a lot to answer for and senior moments to boot, but really there can be no excuses, just like our manager, there's no hiding place for incompetence. The biggest item of news ahead of this afternoons game away to the Swifts, is that we have signed, Gary Rodger, on-loan from former manager, big Tam Wright's St Johnstone, for at least 6 months.

Obviously our manager is still blaming the defence for being so porous and not taking responsibility for his midfield selections, with no tacklers in sight. If by any remote chance we could get a result today and Gary plays a part, Spike will fell vindicated, but on the other hand, if the Swifts can take advantage of our relaxed attitude in midfield, we fear for the worst. If we don't get a result today the manager will be on a sticky wicket and rightly so we think.

Spike, has been successful in turning our fortunes around when we play the Swifts, the only manager to have a winning record against Dungannon, who used be a thorn in our flesh, so to speak. So he has a reputation for crafting a win and it usually is a close run thing, so if you suffer from a nervous ailment, maybe you best stay at home, with all our other part-time supporters who have been moaning and mewing to anybody who will listen, like young kittens.

But the terriers, who make up most of our die-hard supporters, will be there, supporting the team, for they know, no other way. As far as we know, Mark Magennis, is clear for making his debut today, yet another reason not to miss the trip to Stangmore Park, unless he is still suspended, surely not? No news about JT, we assume he's still injured and the way he's been playing of late, he's no use to us. It seems Tony and Gavin times are up, but we will endeavour to glean as much info as we are allowed.

So its all systems go for a result, any result will, we think, keep our manager in his job at least another week, but its bound to be getting close if we don't turn the corner soon. Maybe the inclusion of Maggy (Magennis), will make the difference. As we haven't been to any friendlies, is he's still an enigma to ourselves. As far as we know, he hasn't got a lot of pace, so he'll slot into our pace-less midfield very nicely, but we are looking for big things from him, COSB!

Friday, August 14, 2015

What Pride!

We were going to start this Sky Blue Sport news, by exhorting our beloved Sky Blues, to show some pride, but we have come to the conclusion, that we don't have any pride. After two shambolic performances, in which our manager took no responsibility for, our players confidence must be shattered and it will be hard to pick themselves up for this the first derby of the season.

New Captain Jimer, should return in defence, but at rightback or central defender alongside Kyley, is anybody's guess. But return he must, for we missed his organisation on Wednesday night, in short we had no leaders on the pitch. Fergie's great move was to take off a defender, Paddy Mac, after 30 mins and bring on an striker, Matty. but then he moved Jenks back to central defence, where he was no better than Paddy Mac and we missed his influence in midfield.

We fully expect Spike to pick virtually the same team again, but if he continues with his policy of making the keeper the scapegoat, then Blaney will be dropped. In truth he was rooted to his goal-line for four of Glenavon's goals, but he made some excellent saves to boot. If Mark Magennis is free from suspension, he should get a seat on the bench at least, if he's still suspended we will have to put up with Thommo.

No doubt the great unwashed are coming to the Showgrounds expecting a victory, but we demand that our players make a fight of it, or I suspect Glen and his cohorts will feel our wrath and its not something to be trifled with. Those stories of referees getting a Police escort, are all true and managers had to resign or suffer a similiar fate, are all too true as well, so be warned, take some responsibility for your team and pick a strong Squad or be dammed. So come Sky Blues get stuck into them, let's shag those Coleraine sheep!