Belfast Telegraph

Gray's Reds go to Town for win ahead of crucial Blues showdown

Warrenpoint Town 1 Cliftonville 3

By Steven Beacom

On another night Joe Gormley could have had a hat-trick. In the end one goal had to do for the revered Cliftonville hitman.

It was his 22nd of the season and enough to seal an important victory for the Reds - playing in green last night - after a disappointing weekend when they were knocked out of the League Cup by Ballymena United.

Cliftonville had been hoping to be playing in the final of that competition on Saturday against Dungannon Swifts. Instead they host Linfield in a league game.

Barry Gray's side should enter that fixture in good heart following last night's 3-1 victory over Warrenpoint Town at Milltown.

The third goal for the visitors by Gormley sealed the deal just before the break in what was a rip-roaring first 45 minutes.

Ten minutes in, Warrenpoint were trailing by two after excellent strikes from Jay Donnelly and Conor McDonald.

Against the run of play Martin Murray latched on to a long ball and brilliantly chipped it over advancing Cliftonville goalkeeper Brian Neeson to make it 2-1.

At the other end, on 38 minutes, Gormley collected the ball after sloppy Warrenpoint defending and smacked it home.

Try as they might after the break there was no way back for Matthew Tipton's men.

Ace predator Gormley should have been going home with the match ball. On two occasions when normally he would have buried the chances, he allowed Johnny Parr the opportunity to make saves.

By then the job was done. Cliftonville had the points in the bag and now they will be aiming for some consistency, starting against Linfield on Saturday.

WARRENPOINT TOWN: Parr, Foster, Moan, Dane, Mackle, M Murray, McMenamin, Davidson, TJ Murray, Wallace, Hughes. Subs: O'Sullivan, Roohi for Davidson, McGrandles for M Murray, Tucker, Fox.

CLIFTONVILLE: Neeson, Breen, Curran, Harkin, Bagnall, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, A Donnelly, Grimes, McDonald. Subs: Dunne, McGovern, Ives, Winchester for Harkin, Lavery for Curran.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)

Man of Match: Jay Donnelly

Match rating: 7/10.

Belfast Telegraph

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