Cliftonville show some steel and resolve to sink Glentoran in the JBE League Cup
Cliftonville 3-2 Glentoran
Ryan Catney rifled home an incredible long-range strike as Cliftonville battled from behind to oust Glentoran from the JBE League Cup at Solitude.
Each of the competition's previous rounds have yielded eye-popping goals against the Reds - Martin Murray's halfway line own goal against Dundela and then Dungannon's Paul McElroy netting from his own half at Stangmore - but this time the celebrations were all theirs as their captain for the night powered home a wonderful long-range attempt that had Glens keeper Elliott Morris grasping at air on a windswept evening.
That strike came hot on the heels of Davy McDaid cancelling out Johnny Addis' opener and, after Cliftonville had moved 3-1 in front via an own goal from the unfortunate Stephen McCullough, Curtis Allen pulled one back before his red card ended his side's hopes of a stirring comeback.
The Reds - whose last defeat in the competition was a December 2011 semi-final loss to Coleraine - made two changes to the side which overcame Linfield on Danske Bank Premiership duty at Windsor Park on Saturday.
Johnny Flynn returned from suspension to partner Jaimie McGovern in central defence at the expense of Caoimhin Bonner, while Francis Brennan was axed in favour of Levi Ives who was part of the Northern Ireland team that secured progress to the Elite Round of the UEFA Under 19 Championships in Russia over the weekend.
New Glentoran manager Alan Kernaghan, whose term in the Oval office commenced with a heavy loss to Crusaders at the weekend, brought his troops back to north Belfast minus the services of both Marcus Kane and Niall Henderson, who picked up red cards in that Seaview loss.
William Garrett and Francis McCaffrey deputised for the banned duo, with Steven McCullough also handed a starting berth as Jim O'Hanlon dropped to a youthful bench.
The opening goal arrived on 12 minutes when Addis stroked home amid a goalmouth melee following a corner as the Glens took early advantage of the strong wind blowing in their favour.
The next such set-piece delivered another skirmish, this time involving most players on the park, but once order had been restored and the perpetrators had lifted themselves out of the back of the net, Allen and Tomas Cosgrove saw their names taken by referee Ross Dunlop.
Just before the half-hour, a tricky run from Allen ended with the ball trickling across the face of goal but, just as McCaffrey looked poised to double the Glens' advantage from close range, Flynn's stretching block saved the day for the hosts.
McDaid restored parity when he nicked in at the far post to touch Ives' cross home.
That was on 54 minutes and, incredibly, come the 65th, a further four goals would be registered.
First, Cliftonville pulled ahead when Catney smashed home that outrageous leveller ahead of McCullough turning Jude Winchester's free-kick into his own net.
Allen pounced to reduce the arrears at 3-2 as a rip-roaring contest really screamed into life in front of passionate supporters at both ends of the ground.
Glentoran thought they'd levelled when Allen dinked home with just over a quarter of an hour to play but, having handled in the build-up, the striker not only had his effort chalked off, he was also shown a second yellow and a subsequent red card for his troubles.
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Ives, Flynn, Curran, McDaid, M Donnelly, Catney, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Bonner, Knowles, Garrett (M Donnelly, 70 mins), M Murray (J Donnelly, 86 mins), George (McDaid, 90 mins).
GLENTORAN: Morris, Holland, Garrett, Addis, McCaffrey, Caldwell, McAlorum, McCullough, Gordon, Allen, Smith. Subs: Hogg, O'Hanlon (Garrett, 37 mins), Cafolla (McCaffrey, 82 mins), Hamill, Elliott (Smith, 82 mins).
Referee: Russ Dunlop (Carrickfergus).