Score early and score often is the battle cry that Linfield striker Peter Thompson will belt out ahead of the Blues’ Setanta Sports Cup return clash with Dundalk.
Goals are a must for the Windsor Park men when they head to Oriel Park on Monday week and Thompson is confident that they will come.
Linfield need to score at least three times in order to make the next round of the all-Ireland tournament, after suffering a shock 5-3 defeat in Monday night’s first leg.
Thompson struck his 26th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the first-half, although the rest of the game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons as Dundalk cut the Blues open a handful of times to leave the home fans stunned.
Now the striker intends to give the Bluemen who head to Louth on February 28 something to cheer about.
“We are a team that is capable of scoring goals, so we won’t be overawed by the fact that we need to score three in Dundalk,” said Thompson. “The first goal will be important and really we need to score early to give us something to build on. The key thing then will be not to concede anything in the way we did on Monday night.
“Every time we seemed to be getting a bit of a foothold in the game we gave them the advantage again. We made it too easy for them and it really was a strange game.”
It was strange alright. Linfield just don’t concede that amount of goals, let alone at Windsor Park and north v south battles in the Setanta Sports Cup are usually cagey affairs, settled by the odd goal.
Never before has an opposing team scored five at Windsor Park in the competition and indeed, home defeats have been rare.
“I remember losing 4-0 down at Dungannon a few seasons ago, but I don’t ever remember conceding five,” said Thompson.
“It was very disappointing and we have given ourselves a mountain to climb in the second leg. In any tie like this — in Europe or in the Setanta Cup — the one thing you want to do is keep it alive going into the second-leg.
“We’ve given ourselves a lot of work to do, but the one good thing is that we know we can play a lot better than we did and hopefully that will give us a chance.”