Thursday, 10 September 2015
THE top two meet in the Danske Bank Premiership this weekend as 2014/15 champions Crusaders host leaders Linfield in what is the stand out tie in Matchday 7’s six matches.
The games between Crusaders and Linfield last season were the difference as Stephen Baxter’s side won the title by 10 points with the Crues taking seven points from their first three meetings. While Linfield won 3-1 in April, the title was already on its way to the Seaview.
Warren Feeney’s side have started this season in fine form and boast a 100% record after six games while conceding just two goals, but in Crusaders they face a side gaining in confidence after a sluggish start to their campaign.
With four wins in a row, including games away at Cliftonville and Glenavon, Crusaders look to be showing the form that took them to the title last season, and with Paul Heatley and Andy Waterworth both netting in each of the last four games between the sides this weekend’s match looks as tough a game to call as you will get this season. Crues’ Michael Carvill could make an appearance against his former employers.
Just two points separate the bottom six clubs so a win, even at this early stage of the season could make all the difference to some clubs. Two of these clubs meet at Ferney Park as Ballinamallard Utd host Carrick Rangers.
The Mallards narrowly lost to Linfield last Saturday and are sure to take confidence in their performance, while Carrick Rangers also came up short losing 2-1 at home to Warrenpoint Town.
Ballymena United, who entertain Cliftonville at the Showgrounds, finally grabbed their first 3pts of the season last week against Glentoran and although they still prop up the table, the win has lifted them level on points with the three clubs above them. The Sky Blues now unbeaten in two league games and look to have steadied the ship following a run of four straight defeats in August.
Cliftonville suffered a defeat to rivals Crusaders last time out and could see this game as the ideal fixture to get their season back on track.
Glenavon are still searching for their first win at Mourneview Park this season as in-form Coleraine head to Lurgan. Gary Hamilton’s side have one point to show for their three home games so far, yet boast a 100% record away from Mourneview and this is something that the manager will look to change on Saturday.
Coleraine’s Neil McCafferty has netted four times in three games against Glenavon and his side have won four of their six games in the Premiership. The Bannsiders go into this fixture knowing that three points could potentially put them in second place in the table; something not many people would have predicted at the start of August.
It’s a repeat of the Irish Cup Final at the Oval as Glentoran face Portadown. This game saw the Glens win at home against Ronnie McFall’s side for the first time in 11 matches and with both teams showing inconsistent form this season, this is another fixture that could go either way.
Glentoran suffered a shock defeat to Ballymena Utd last weekend and Eddie Patterson will demand they respond on Saturday. The Ports lost 3-0 last time out against Linfield but have showed the potential they have in their team by beating Crusaders at Seaview on the opening day of the season.
Warrenpoint Town host Dungannon Swifts at Milltown as they look to extend their five match unbeaten run against their old landlords. Having taken four points from their last two games Barry Gray’s ‘Point will be seeing this game as an opportunity to keep that run going and move up the table.
Darren Murphy’s Dungannon have shipped seven goals in their last two games and he knows they must tighten up at the back if they are to have a change in fortune, as games against the sides around them could prove the difference come the end of the season.
Danske Bank Premiership - Match Day 7
Saturday 12 September (3pm)
Ballinamallard Utd v Carrick Rangers
Ballymena Utd v Cliftonville
Crusaders v Linfield
Glenavon v Coleraine
Glentoran v Portadown
Warrenpoint Town v Dungannon Swifts