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Anderson fury as Murray escapes ban


Controversial: Darren Murray was banned before Reds move

Controversial: Darren Murray was banned before Reds move

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Controversial: Darren Murray was banned before Reds move

Darren Murray's involvement in Cliftonville's 2-0 victory over Ballinamallard United left visiting boss Whitey Anderson "flabbergasted".

The former Portadown striker, who opened the scoring to set the Reds on their way to a first Danske Bank Premiership win since December 12, began the week with a one-match ban that was deemed to have been served when the Ports faced Warrenpoint Town last Tuesday night - despite Murray having switched clubs beforehand.

Though article 12.1 of last season's Irish Football Association disciplinary code would have ruled the 24-year-old out of action, article 16.1 of this year's rulebook dictates that "all suspensions must be served with the team at which the player or official received the suspension", thus clearing Murray to play without having suffered any personal punishment for the five cautions he picked up before moving to Cliftonville.

"I'm flabbergasted that Darren Murray was on the pitch," said Anderson.

"It's folly. If a player is booked five times and is sanctioned in the form of a one-match ban, he should have to serve a suspension and miss a game. His five bookings meant nothing and whoever allowed that rule to go through needs their head examined. It's absolute and utter nonsense."

To add to Anderson's frustration, it was Murray who registered the host's breakthrough goal when he seized upon a smartly taken free-kick from cousin Martin Donnelly just past the hour ahead of Chris Curran wrapping things up in injury-time.

Reds boss Gerard Lyttle said: "We had drawn our last four games but they all felt like defeats. They were all matches we should have won yet, in terms of performance, I think we've generally done quite well.

"We've looked dangerous going forward and scored quite a few goals but it's defensively that we've struggled.

"This was much better. Conor Devlin was very vocal behind his back four and the defence stood up strong and you could see the determination not to concede."

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Ives (Bannor, 48 mins), Knowles (Hughes, 62 mins), Curran, McMullan (J Donnelly, 25 mins), M Donnelly, D Murray, Smyth, Catney, Cosgrove. Unused subs: McDaid, George.

BALLINAMALLARD: Rouse, Crilly, McCartney, McMenamin, McCabe, Lecky, Sproule, Elliott (Courtney, 67 mins), Friars, Lafferty (Mayse, 72 mins), Campbell (Beacom, 80 mins). Unused subs: Dykes, McKenna.

Man of the match: Martin Donnelly

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)

Belfast Telegraph