Cliftonville 2 Donegal Celtic 2: Eddie Patterson’s six-year tenure as Cliftonville manager came to a shock end last night.
The parting of the ways came moments after Patterson’s side had guided his side to a draw with cross-city strugglers, Donegal Celtic, taking the Reds’ winless run to five games.
During his reign he has turned the Solitude side from also-rans to title-contenders and although a top six place was secured this season a challenge for the Gibson Cup never materialised.
A club statement after the game said: “Cliftonville Football Club wish to announce that they have parted company with manager Eddie Patterson.
“The Club would like to thank Eddie for his achievements during his time as manager and wish him well in the future. No further comment will be made at this time.”
Who will take over the reins for the rest of the season and for the longer term remains to be seen but they will find Patterson a tough act to follow.
Turning to the action on the pitch and Donegal Celtic boosted their survival hopes with that point at Solitude.
A goalless first-half gave way to an end-to-end second period, which saw the Reds twice take the lead — through George McMullan and Conal Burns — only for Paul McVeigh and Eamonn McAllister to respond each time for the visitors.
Rory Donnelly almost opened the scoring only for former Reds’ favourite Declan O'Hara to clear his header off the line but the deadlock was finally broken soon after the re-start when, after visiting keeper Declan Brown had blocked a Donnelly header, McMullan was on hand to force the ball over the line.
The Hoops were level within 60 seconds, however. McVeigh got his shot away and, although Jack Duffin made a fine stop, the Reds' custodian could do nothing to stop DC's talisman from converting the rebound.
Cliftonville were back in front when McMullan rolled a beautiful pass down the line for Donnelly, whose cross was touched home by Burns. McAllister claimed a point for DC when he beat Duffin with a low drive on 68 minutes.
CLIFTONVILLE: Duffin, Hutton, Donaghy, McMullan, Garrett, Johnston, Catney, C Burns, Donnelly, Kane, McVeigh. Subs: Fleming, M Holland (for Catney, 76 mins), C Scannell (for Donnelly, 87 mins), Smyth (for Burns, 87 mins), Bannon.
DONEGAL CELTIC: Brown, Muir, Glenholmes, McAlorum, Gargan, Bardley, McAllister, McVeigh, McNamee, O'Hara, Dickson: Subs: Fay, Atkinson, Carson, Burns (for Dickson, 81 mins), Curran (for Muir, 69 mins).
Referee: Brian Turkington (Belfast).