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Post Mortem

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For me, BPF asserted himself as our number one. Some wayward first time kicks when he could have taken a touch, but he was catching everything confidently and that 1-on-1 save was what you'd expect from a keeper playing at his level - he didn't rush out until Anier crossed the line into the box and made himself big.

Cathcart and Evans very obviously the best players on the pitch. Dallas did ok out of his real position, he wasn't really tested defensively. I think he actually took a knock at the start of the second half but didn't let on to the bench. He didn't push on as much afterwards, and I'd maybe expect to see McLaughlin play there on Sunday. Lewis looks exciting going forwards - I'm keen to see how he fares in the EPL next season, and indeed how it improves him defensively.

Davis grew into the match and was far more like his old self in the second half. That pass in to Magennis was lovely. Saville was a workhorse as usual. McNair wasn't that influential but didn't do anything wrong. He was just unlucky with the header because of the trajectory of the ball - if he gets his head under it to put any power on it, it goes over the bar.

Jones could have done a bit better. He causes havoc with his dribbling but he could do with working on delivering with his weaker foot - too much faffing about trying to get the ball onto his right when I felt he had the time and space to try and whip a few in with his left a few times in the first half. The cross for the goal was good though. I can see his potential but Ferguson should be given more game time in that position. McGinn obviously had a good game.

Lafferty is very frustrating to watch. He did well to set the goal up, and does cause problems for less experienced defenders that are trying to patrol him. To be fair he's probably the best striker we have for doing that, but it's just inconsistent during the match. At the time I was hoping Boyce would come on for him sooner, but Josh looked very keen when he came on and would probably have scored if he had had another 10 mins or so.

I thought the performance was fine, but that Estonia team weren't great and their lack of sharpness showed. I watched them do a cross and shoot drill in their warmup and even without defenders the quality was pretty bad. Belarus will be a tougher test, but on last night's showing, we're capable of pushing it on an extra gear and doing the job.

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We played ok, we were lively and positive but lacked a bit of quality in the final third. Estonia weren't great and thankfully missed a sitter.

Magennis came on when it was game over, that may explain why he got a bit more space and looked better than Lafferty.

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Thought Lewis was excellent, as well as Evans and Cathcart. Lafferty was poor and clearly isnt match fit, Magennis looked alot better when he came with some good touches and runs. 

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Was the atmosphere notably poor?

Seeing a lot of moaning and conspiracy theories about the IFA wanting rid of real fans/Ulster banners/National Anthems/the working class...

I didn't notice it being particularly quiet

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Its hard to gauge against such a weak team but overall i was happy with that. We have played a lot better than that in previous games and came away with nothing.

BPF scares the life out of me every time he touches the ball but he pulled of a great save and a clean sheet with raise his confidence. I did think that JE seemed to be giving him a lot of the ball and talking to him constantly to guide him through. 

Back four was solid, McNair and Jones were superb for me and Davis got better as the game went on. Laff started off ok and won a few headers but after that drifted out of the game and he does get on like a dick at times . I would like to see Josh start on Sunday in that position.

Nice to see McGinn get the goal and dedicate it to the kids that died in Cookstown this week.

 

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18 minutes ago, coatsey10 said:

Was the atmosphere notably poor?

Seeing a lot of moaning and conspiracy theories about the IFA wanting rid of real fans/Ulster banners/National Anthems/the working class...

I didn't notice it being particularly quiet

It was fairly crap in the period after the first 15 minutes up to McGinn's goal.

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8 minutes ago, Richardh said:

It was fairly crap in the period after the first 15 minutes up to McGinn's goal.

I'm really struggling to figure out what period of time you're describing... maybe the head isn't clear of the drink yet

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Oh i also forgot to mention corners and free kicks. Without Norwood we need someone to step up and take these. At least four of McNairs corners didnt beat the first man

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Good win imo, could have had a few more at the end but the result is what counts. McNair had a good game although a dreadful miss in the first half,  in fact the midfield did well and were comfortable throughout. Was pleased to see BPF keep a clean sheet and make a big save as well. 

Thought atmosphere was poor and subs were quite uninspiring, would have liked to have seen Smyth get a run out. Lafferty poor, would expect Magennis to start up top on Sunday but can't see him being any more likely to get us goals.

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Just now, ULSTERHEARTS said:

Oh i also forgot to mention corners and free kicks. Without Norwood we need someone to step up and take these. At least four of McNairs corners didnt beat the first man

Ferguson could be the best option but can he play RB  where do we slot him in unless drop Dallas

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Happy enough with that result. Predicted a 3-0 win. I'd actually fancy us away in Tallinn as well. This Sunday though will be a far more difficult game.

Thought everyone contributed well. Davis again being our main man.

Good contribution down the left side and if Jones can just find that final product he will be a real asset for us over the years.

Dallas looked good at RB

McNair for me again showed why he's a Centre Half and that's nothing to do with the miss.

My only real disappointment though was this new brand of football I was waiting to see which was spoke about by MON in the pre game press conferences.

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It was a regulation 2 - 0 win, and I'm as happy as Larry with it.

Predictably Estonia put everybody behind the ball, and we found it tough to break them down. That, combined with McNair's miss and Lewis not getting what looked like a nailed on penalty, made for a frustrating first half.

The second half was better, and we ran out deserved winners. Really, in the end, it should have been more than 2.

As for individuals. BPF had one save to make, and he did just that. His kicking was inconsistent though. The full backs were both very good, with Dallas one of the better players on the field IMO. The CB's strolled about the place. Cathcart in particular was superb. His distribution was as good as you'll see from a CB. The stand out moment was when he took the ball off one of their players, dummied him, then fired a 40 yard pass straight onto Jones' chest. The midfield three largely controlled the game. McGinn and Jones were good on the flanks, though Jones could do with sorting that final ball out. McGinn took his goal superbly. Lafferty put himself about, and had a few moments (notably the assist), but I can't help thinking he should've done better. I'm a bit torn on Magennis' performance. He got chances, and hit the target, but should he have scored? I thought that the one he lamped straight at the 'keeper really should have hit the net.

A special mention goes to Davis, That's 12 goals now, which puts him in distinguished company. I know it's not the record any more, but there are only four NI players who have scored more. 

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Just great to get a win and a clean sheet.

Jones is very frustrating for me. Too many times he was carrying the ball towards our defenders instead of turning on a sixpence and being positive.

Can see the same XI picked for Belarus.

 

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