Linfield lose out to Rosenborg but signings Hery and Lavery make promising debuts
Scroll down for a look at how the two newboys played
Linfield were beaten 2-0 by a superior Rosenborg side at Windsor Park as fans got to cast their eye over the club's two high profile signings.
French midfielder Bastien Hery started while Northern Ireland Under 21 striker made an impressive cameo appearance off the bench in front of the 2,710 strong crowd.
However, it was the visitors that shone brightest in the Champions League first qualifying round first leg, making their dominance count with goals from captain Mike Jansen and forward Alexander Soderlund.
Linfield skipper Jamie Mulgrew had admitted the Norwegians are a 'couple of levels' above the Blues and it showed from the off.
While Niall Quinn did head the first shot of the night over the bar, from then onwards Linfield's defence was made to work.
Against a team that boasted over 100 international caps in its starting line-up, that could have no surprise to anybody.
Tore Reginiussen, who netted for Norway against the Republic of Ireland in 2008, rattled the crissbar with a driven early effort but that proved only to be a stay of execution for Linfield's clean sheet.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
It was first muddied when Rosenborg skipper Mike Jensen did well to beat a couple of covering defenders to slot home from a narrow angle after he was afforded the time and space to control Gjermund Asen's right-wing cross.
Linfield did look like they could cause the odd problem on the break and Andy Waterworth was inches from getting a telling touch on Matthew Clarke's cross towards the end of the first half.
The second period continued in similar vein but, to their credit, Linfield managed to hold out their opponents until 69 minutes when Rosenborg again upped the class.
This time midfielder Anders Konradsen got in beind Chris Casement, did well to hold off the full-back and then squad from Alexander Soderlund to dink past a helpless Gareth Deane.
Linfield got more time on the ball in the closing stages and substitute Shayne Lavery had the best effort at goal, dropping deep to turn and shoot narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
There was time left for Linfield goalkeeper Gareth Deane to make a good save to prevent a third.
All in all, it was a night to be savoured as Rosenborg impressed, Linfield did themselves a credit and the fans got to see the new signings. Speaking of which....
How did Linfield's new signings Bastien Hery and Shayne Lavery look?
In truth, it was a difficult enough game in which to rate either as Linfield were on the back foot for most of the game but, by the same token, both proved their undoubted abilities.
And if they can do even that much against a strong Rosenborg outfit, it augurs well for life in the Irish League.
The hosts' newest signing Hery got the nod in centre-mid alongside skipper Jamie Mulgrew and grew into the game.
He showed his supreme skills and admirable confidence after the break, twice using his quick feet to jink his way out of trouble inside his own penalty area. In that defensive third, he also proved his worth with a couple of timely challenges when he and his team-mates were made to graft to keep the scoreline down.
As the game wore on and Linfield were afforded a little more time on the ball, he proved that he could dictate play, dropping into space in midfield and spraying a range of passing out to the wings or through to the forwards.
He could even have ended the day with an assist after picking out fellow recruit Shayne Lavery for the former Everton striker to fire wide.
What about Lavery? He came on in place of Kirk Millar just before Rosenborg's second and definitely provided an added threat for the Blues.
He did well to take down a couple of long balls under pressure from the international defenders and looked like he might score when he dropped deep to pick up Hery's pass. That movement earned him the time to turn and go for goal. Even if he dragged the shot wide, it was a promising sign of goals to come.
Both looked like they have much to offer and against, no disrespect, lesser opposition in the Irish League, their talents will be all the more evident.
Linfield will play Rosenborg in Norway next Wednesday, July 18, at 6pm.
Here's tonight's game as it happened:
Belfast Telegraph Digital