Belfast Telegraph

Gerard Lyttle delighted with Cliftonville as Stephen Garrett pair sinks Portadown

Cliftonville 3-0 Portadown

By Conor McLaughlin

On the day they became the first club in Ireland to offer free stadium Wi-Fi access to all supporters, Cliftonville's players sent out all the right signals at Solitude with their most commanding performance of the season.

Spurred on by an inspirational solo show from two-goal Stephen Garrett, the Reds connected all over the park to ensure that a varying array of potential online distractions could not compete for attention with the fare served up on the pitch.

Two days after having his status upgraded from caretaker to bona fide manager, Gerard Lyttle thanked his players for their continued high levels of application.

"I thought the boys were excellent, every single one of them," he said.

"We pressed high up the park, won the ball back in key areas and looked really dangerous going forward. It was a pleasure to watch.

"The players have been fantastic for me since day one. From the moment I came in as caretaker manager, they have been a joy to work with and I've said thank you to them for getting me appointed because it's their performances and results that have helped the board make their decision.

"Anyone who thinks managing an Irish League club is a part-time job is deluded. It's all day, every day. You're setting up training, getting ready for matches, studying the opposition, viewing strengths and weaknesses, discussing ideas with coaches and players, picking your team, speaking to the media and then you do it all over again.

"You ask your players to manage matches as best they can, whereas for yourself you're trying to manage an entire week. I'm not complaining though. This is the job I want and I'm enjoying it."

After Jay Donnelly had nodded against the bar, Garrett opened the scoring with a fierce 38th minute drive before teeing Donnelly up to double the advantage with just over a quarter of an hour to play.

After being felled inside the area by Keith O'Hara, Garrett picked himself up to complete the afternoon's scoring from the penalty spot.

Portadown assistant boss Kieran Harding - whose side have now failed to score in eight consecutive defeats to Cliftonville - said: "It can be very tough when you get the injuries that we have and you have to cope without so many players.

"That means performances can drop, results are harder to come by and, when you're losing more players during games, as we keep doing, confidence can be hurt."

CLIFTONVILLE: Burke, Flynn, Knowles, Curran, Garrett, M Donnelly, Seydak, Smyth, Catney, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: McGovern, Ives (Seydak, 55 mins), McMullan (Knowles, 73 mins), C Murray, M Murray (Curran, 80 mins).

PORTADOWN: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, O'Hara, McMahon, Murray, Mouncey, Oman, Gault, Twigg, Conaty. Subs: Brennan, Ramsey, Breen (Oman, 53 mins), Carson (Conaty, 50 mins), Soares (Twigg, 42 mins).

Man of the Match: Stephen Garrett

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Belfast Telegraph


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