what was a fairly quite opening to the game in Carrickfergus, it was Stewart Nixon
who crafted the first opportunity after fourteen minutes as he put the ball
through the legs of Conor McDermott before curling a strike from the edge of
the area into the arms of Richard Brush.
Neale then tried his luck from just outside the area with a speculative volley
that went over the crossbar.
best opportunity of the half then came for the hosts on 26 minutes as a neat give-and-go
between Darren Murray and Nixon saw the latter chip his near post effort wide
of the mark.
the other end, a long punt forward from Brush found Michael McCrudden, however
his first time effort was directed straight at ‘keeper Harry Doherty.
Donnelly then tried his luck with a free-kick of distance, but it was of no
concern to Doherty.
Daniel Kelly almost broke the deadlock soon after as he struck an effort towards
the roof of the net from outside the box; Brush scrambled back in time to push
the ball over the bar.
the final action of the half, Conor McDermott surged forward on the right flank
and broke into the box, as his fierce strike towards the top corner was denied
by an excellent Doherty save to ensure the game remained at deadlock at the
again was proving to be a threat for the Reds at the start of the second half,
as he again galloped forward from right-back but dragged his low shot from the
edge of the area wide of the post.
was meanwhile looking for a debut goal for the ‘Gers at the other end, as he
collected the ball from twenty yards but curled his strike the wrong side of
McLaughlin’s men thought they had made the breakthrough on 56 minutes as Ruaidhrí
Donnelly’s flick on found Jamie Harney who headed in, however his celebrations
were cut short with the assistant referee raising his flag for offside.
the hour mark, Lloyd Anderson replaced Kyle Cherry in the middle of the park in
what would prove to be a game-changing substitution.
four minutes after coming on, Anderson struck. A long-throw in from Nixon
caused danger in the Cliftonville defence, as Kelly won the header to set up
Anderson, with his back to goal, to hook the ball into the net and give Brush
further substitution then followed, seeing Michael Smith replace Darren Murray
as Niall Currie’s men went in search of a second goal to seal the win.
goal very nearly came just a minute later as Nixon laid the ball into the path
of Neale who ran through one-on-one, but Brush was out quickly to block his
again came to rescue his side shortly after as Smith danced his way past a
couple of defenders before being denied by the visiting shot-stopper.
then had further chances to double his tally for the day as he first side-footed
an effort just past the post before seeing a fierce strike pushed away by
full time whistle gave Niall Currie’s men three fully deserved points off the
back of a sublime performance which takes them to eight position in the Danske
Rangers: Doherty; Magill, Surgenor, Loughran; Carson, Kelly, Cherry (Anderson,
61), Neale; Faulkner; Nixon, Murray (Smith, 72).
substitute: Nicholl, Keke, Hassin, McGreevy, Colligan.