Belfast Telegraph

Chris Curran's cracker clinches the victory for Cliftonville

Dungannon 0-1 Cliftonville

By Adrian Rutherford

It's a seven-year itch which Dungannon Swifts just can't scratch.

They haven't beaten Cliftonville since 2008 - a remarkable run which Darren Murphy is fed up of being told about.

It is now 26 games and counting after a Chris Curran wonder-strike saw the Reds claim a hard-fought win at Stangmore Park.

Surely that record has to fall sooner rather than later.

The sides' next meeting in the JBE League Cup on Wednesday night would be the perfect occasion and Murphy is reluctant to dwell on the past.

"It's got to stop some time," he said.

"People have asked me that question numerous times, and my answer is always that it hasn't been the same XI who've played in all 26 games.

"I'm not big into superstition or statistics.

"It is just one of those things. It's football. It happens."

Dungannon worked hard, restricting Cliftonville to few chances, and were unfortunate to see Andrew Mitchell spurn a glorious opportunity late on.

Often the quality of finishing is the difference in games like this, and so it proved on Saturday.

Curran's strike had that touch of quality which the game sadly lacked. A free-kick from Martin Donnelly landed perfectly for the midfielder, lurking just inside the penalty area.

He connected perfectly, adjusting his right boot to hit an unstoppable volley.

Dungannon's best chance came 12 minutes from the end.

Paul McElroy teed up Mitchell, only for the striker to drag his shot wide just as home fans were ready to celebrate an equaliser.

Murphy added: "It was a game of very few chances and, when they do come along, you've got to take them.

"Andrew's chance was a great one. You've got to take advantage.

"Overall, I'm well pleased with the effort we put in today.

"We competed well and we kept the ball well for long periods.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm disappointed with the result, but I have to be pleased with the performance."

This was Cliftonville's fourth win in five games under their interim boss Gerard Lyttle and keeps the Reds in third place in the table.

Lyttle was pleased with the result, saying: "It probably wasn't all that exciting for the spectators, at times it was slow and lethargic.

"But all I can do is ask the boys to get three points, they did that and I have to be very happy."

dungannon: Coleman, Lowe, Armstrong, McCaffrey, O'Rourke, Harpur (McConnell, 71 mins), Hazley, Teggart, Burke (Fitzpatrick, 49 mins), McElroy (Douglas, 81 mins), Mitchell. Unused subs: Addis, McCullough

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Flynn, Knowles, Curran (McNicholl, 87 mins), McMullan, Garrett, M Donnelly (M Murray, 73 mins), Smyth, Catney, Cosgrove, J Donnelly (C Murray, 65 mins). Unused subs: Brennan, Tolan

Man of the Match: Stephen Garrett (pictured)

Match rating: 4/10

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

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