Belfast Telegraph

Buoyant Gray calls for Reds to keep building on their own strengths

Cliftonville 3-0 Carrick Rangers

By Conor McLaughlin

Barry Gray believes that Cliftonville's defeat of Carrick Rangers can help his side learn a positive lesson.

Two first-half strikes from Joe Gormley and a late sealer courtesy of Daniel Hughes wrapped up a comfortable success - but it was to the other end of the park that Gray pointed post-match.

He explained: "The message to the players after that is simple because the game backed up what we have been telling them all along which is that if we don't give teams anything, we give ourselves a much greater chance.

"Our overall performance was much more like what we should be about and the players deserve credit for going out and playing the way they did.

"Carrick set up to make things difficult for us and to deny us space, but we've worked very hard, passed the ball well and got our rewards.

"Bit by bit, I can see us getting where we want to be and I know we'll have setbacks but, if we can eradicate the mistakes, we'll win more games - and we've just proved it."

Opposite number David McAlinden, meanwhile, reflected: "In games like this, you need to give yourself something to hold onto and defend but their first goal has robbed us of that and we've gone chasing it, maybe too early.

"My players stuck together, though. Nobody gave in when the chips were down and we'll need that going forward."

CLIFTONVILLE: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Breen, Harney, Curran, Winchester, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, R Donnelly. Subs: Dunne, Hughes (for Gormley, 60 mins), Garrett (for McGovern, 73 mins), M Donnelly, Lavery (for Cosgrove, 78 mins).

CARRICK: Doherty, Chapman, Taggart, Maybin, McMullan, Morrow, Smith, Clarke, Mooney, Larmour, Hassin. Subs: McAllister (for Smith, 81 mins), Rice (for Maybin, 84 mins), Roy, Green (for Mooney, 85 mins), Fogarty.

Man of the match: Joe Gormley

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Keith Kennedy (Lisburn)

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