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Tommy Breslin relieved as Cliftonville edge over the line

Cliftonville 1-0 Carrick Rangers

By Conor McLaughlin

Tommy Breslin admitted Cliftonville were made to sweat for victory as Carrick Rangers staged a late rally at Solitude.

Trailing to George McMullan's 73rd-minute thunderbolt, the visitors - who had found possession difficult to come by over the course of the afternoon - saw Miguel Chines take a penalty box tumble ahead of Kyle Cherry nodding against the woodwork deep into injury-time.

"Carrick had a couple of late chances and, when you're only one goal ahead, you're always susceptible to that kind of thing," said Breslin.

"It's four wins from four and we're not going to complain about that at all. This was a difficult match because Carrick came here with a game plan to frustrate us and it worked for long spells.

"It was up to us to find a way through that but there were certain things we could maybe have done better that would have made for a more comfortable afternoon.

"We had to be patient and work hard to create space and find openings.

"I'm just thankful we got the goal when he did and there's no better man to do it than George McMullan. He strikes the ball so cleanly and it was a great hit but it was always likely to take something like that to make the difference in a game like this."

Opposite number Gary Haveron was dismissed from the touchline for speaking out of turn to referee Raymond Hetherington in the aftermath of Chines' late penalty appeal and hopes his side will benefit from an upturn in fortunes in that regard soon.

"It's frustrating because we don't feel like we're getting the big decisions," he said.

"Against Linfield, we felt they should have had two players sent off and then here we should have had a penalty.

"It looked a certainty from where I was stood and even the Cliftonville bench agreed but it's not just that, you look at the bookings that were dished out and then you've George McMullan - who scored a great goal, no taking away from that - who got away with foul after foul."

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Bonner, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, M Donnelly, Seydak, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: McGovern, Smyth, Catney (McMullan, 76 mins), Winchester (J Donnelly, 76 mins), Murray (Curran, 67 mins).

CARRICK: Neeson, Smyth, Traynor, Surgenor, Kelly, Harmon, McNeill, Cherry, Roy, McCloskey, Browne. Subs: Chines (Roy, 83 mins), Kane (McCloskey, 59 mins), Johnston, McKenna (Smyth, 76 mins), Miskimmin.

Man of the match: George McMullan

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)

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