Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Tim's first strike may be Blues' golden goal

Jamie Mulgrew wheels away to celebrate scoring the opener at Seaview on Saturday

Just last week Linfield manager David Jeffrey turned down a £10,000 bid for striker Timmy Adamson.

The summer signing's first goal for the club could, however, prove to be worth much more than that.

Just a couple of minutes after Adamson scored what turned out to be Linfield's winner in a 3-2 thriller against Crusaders, Gary Hamilton restored Glentoran's lead against Portadown.

While the Blues saw out the game to take all three points, the Glens were unable to hold on and Allan Smart's injury-time winner for the Ports has blown the title race wide open at the halfway stage.

And just when it looked like the defending champions may not be able to take full advantage of any slip-up by the league leaders, it was Adamson who came to the fore to score his first - and quite possibly the most important - of his Linfield career.

There is still half the season to go, but Saturday could well be looked at as a pivotal day when the season reaches its climax a few months down the line.

The rewards for winning the league stretch far beyond the prize money from sponsors Carnegie.

There is a major cash windfall from UEFA - which is set to increase further from the start of next season - and of course, Setanta Cup football for the top four finishers.

It is the European money that Linfield want to get their hands on though and if they can become the first Irish League club to progress in a Champions League qualifying tie then the £10,000 that could have gone into the Windsor Park coffers for the sale of Adamson will pale into insignificance.

Rather than any current Linfield player being the hero at Seaview on Saturday though, it looked like former Windsor Park favourite David Larmour would take all the plaudits as he changed the complexion of the game after his introduction in the 65th minute.

Earlier Jamie Mulgrew had got Linfield off to a perfect start, nodding in Paul McArevey's left-wing cross after only five minutes.

The Blues were in full control and had already struck the woodwork when Glenn Ferguson grabbed the second 10 minutes after the break.

The Crues weren't ready to lie down though, with Larmour providing the inspiration.

Within three minutes he had teed-up Anto Crawford to pull one back and then after testing Linfield goalkeeper Alan Mannus to the max with a wicked right-foot shot, it was Larmour himself who glanced a header into the net at the near post from the corner which followed.

All that hard work failed to pay off though, despite both teams going all out for the win in the final quarter.

David Jeffrey said afterwards that Adamson had been brought on to provide more of a physical presence in the attack against a strong Crusaders defence and although he will score better goals, the header that he managed to deflect past goalkeeper Lewis Hogg and into the net sparked wild celebrations from the Bluemen who packed into Seaview.

Just how important that goal is will only be known in time, but it will be fun finding out as the title race shapes up towards a thrilling conclusion.

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