Reds and Glens reach for the sky but keeper Morris has final say in draw
Cliftonville 1 Glentoran 1
Elliott Morris produced two cracking second-half saves to frustrate Cliftonville and earn Glentoran a battling point at Solitude last night.
Though beaten by the Daniel Hughes strike that cancelled out Curtis Allen's opener, the veteran keeper was at his acrobatic best to stop a deflected Jay Donnelly attempt sneaking in before his point-blank stop from a fierce Hughes attempt denied the Reds striker his second of a match that didn't exactly set pulses racing.
Notable as this contest was for heralding the return of Irish League football to the Sky Sports platform, one of the night's most intriguing stories unfolded long before television viewers had tuned in - namely both sides finding enough players to fill out their teamsheets.
While Glentoran boss Gary Haveron was relieved to see doubts erased over Calum Birney's availability, an injury to Marcus Kane in the warm-up saw Aaron Harmon elevated from the bench, while both Jay Magee and Ciaran Caldwell were ruled out through injury.
Opposite number Gerard Lyttle's follicles will, meanwhile, have been thrilled he had no hair left to tear out this week with the spine of his team decimated by a host of factors.
Central defensive trio Jason McGuinness, Jaimie McGovern and Chris Ramsey missed out through suspension while, in midfield, injuries to Ruairi Harkin, Ryan Catney and James Knowles saw them sidelined, along with on-loan Kym Nelson, barred from lining out against his parent club.
Top scorer Davy McDaid's pre-match switch to League of Ireland First Division side Waterford meant reserve hotshot Daniel Reynolds was elevated to a place on the bench but it was the more familiar figure of Allen whose name was first on the scoresheet with 15 minutes gone.
Cliftonville keeper Peter Burke could do nothing to stop Allen converting at the second attempt after Jonathan Smith's delivery had caused havoc. Smith was then denied by Burke before Glentoran's Steven Gordon headed against the bar.
The equaliser came on the hour when Martin Donnelly's ball forward was well controlled by namesake Jay, who turned to tee up strike partner Hughes for a drive that beat Morris at his near post.
The Glens shot-stopper then produced two excellent saves to preserve a point for his side, firstly reacting smartly to turn a deflected Jay Donnelly attempt behind before getting down well just as Hughes saw his name in lights.
After the game Cliftonville confirmed that striker David McDaid has joined Waterford. The 26-year-old joined the Reds from Coleraine in August, 2014 and scored 51 goals in 113 appearances.
CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Ives (Lavery 78), Bonner, Curran, Garrett (Reynolds 81), M Donnelly, Hughes, Winchester (Seydak 86), J Donnelly, Cosgrove, Finnegan. Unused subs: J Mooney, Haire.
GLENTORAN: Morris, Birney, Allen, Lavery, McAlorum, Addis, Gordon (O'Flynn 72), Redman, Harmon, Ferrin, Smith. Unused subs: Nelson, Foley, McAuley, Black.