Larne’s Albert Watson with early regrets on Irish Cup final stage

With close to two decades of football on his career tally, Albert Watson appreciates the value of a strong start.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 1:00 pm

Watson, a winner with Linfield in 2012, returned to the Irish Cup final stage on Friday night determined to defeat a former club and secure trophy glory for current side Larne

However, hopes were dealt a double blow within the opening half-hour period as goals by Shayne Lavery and Joel Cooper put the Blues into a 2-0 lead. In the end, Jeff Hughes injury-time goal offered little consolation.

“We gave ourselves too much to do in the first half,” said Watson. “We didn’t start well and should have changed our gameplan straight away because the pitch was a bit slow and the wind was going against us and we were playing into their hands with their press.

Larne’s Albert Watson battling with Joel Cooper on Friday in Lurgan. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

“We maybe should have gone a wee bit longer earlier and maybe should have changed our shape.

“No excuses...Linfield were brilliant in the first half and did a number on us.

“Even at that we should not have conceded the two goals...for their first goal we talked about it during the week how Shayne comes off the goalkeeper and makes that run but we let it happen.

“The second one was difficult to take and that gives you too much to do and we had to get an early goal to make a game of it.

“You can’t start like the way we did in a cup final and give a team like Linfield a two-goal lead.

“We need to dust ourselves off and get going again and make things better for the Larne fans.

“There are a lot of good characters in the changing room and in the management.”

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