Belfast Telegraph

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Cliftonville happy with point despite being knocked off top spot in Larne

Larne 1

Cliftonville 1

Cliftonville's Jamie Harney and Larne's Jeff Hughes during todays game at Inver Park, Larne.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Cliftonville's Jamie Harney and Larne's Jeff Hughes during todays game at Inver Park, Larne. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

You won’t find Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin sulking after seeing his side knocked off the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Reds’ 1-1 draw at Larne, coupled with Coleraine’s late win, saw McLauhglin’s men nudged off the summit on goal difference.

The former Institute boss wasn’t getting too carried away with being temporarily top and he’ll carry on that mantra now they are back down to second place.

“People elsewhere were getting a bit excited about us going top of the table, but it’s only November,” McLaughlin maintained.

“There’s not a lot in it, between the top six sides in this division. I’m sure we’ll all have our turn at the top of it at some point.

“The teams could well keep chopping and changing, so we don’t have a big issue with that.

“We’re happy to take the point and move on.”

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Garry Breen headed the home side in front with an unfortunate first half own goal, but the deadly Joe Gormley lashed home an equaliser 11 minutes later to ensure there would be a share of the spoils.

McLaughlin had no complaints about taking a draw against their sixth-placed hosts.

“Both sides really earned their point,” was his assessment.

“It was two sides who like to play football and we saw how good Larne can be on this brilliant surface of theirs.

“They showed their quality and made it difficult for us at times and likewise I thought we did the same to them.

“I don’t think there are too many complaints about the draw. You come to places like Larne you be glad to come away with a point.

“They have top players in their ranks, so we’re not disappointed with a point.

“It would have been great to come away with a win, but you come to places like this take your point and move on.”

It was almost the dream start to the match for the visitors with just three minutes on the clock.

They did well to move possession to the right side of the pitch, where Conor McDermott picked the ball up before having a go with his unfavoured left foot, but his effort was turned on to the base of the post by Conor Devlin.

It was Larne, however, who got their noses in front after 19 minutes.

Davy McDaid cut in from the left flank and swung an inviting cross into the area. In an attempt to clear the danger Breen, who was under pressure from Johnny McMurray, steered his diving header it into the corner past the helpless Richard Brush.

Eleven minutes later, Breen made amends as his perfectly flighted free-kick from inside his own half floated over Harry Flowers and found Gormley.

There was still a lot of work for the striker to do from an acute angle on the right hand side of the box, but he unleashed a ferocious effort past Devlin, via the underside of the crossbar.

In the second-half, McDaid had a glorious chance to regain the lead for the home side when he did the hard work of rounding Brush, but could only slice his effort wide, with defenders in his way.

The closest Cliftonville came was with 16 minutes left; Devlin quickly off his line to snuff out the danger from former team-mate Gormley, saving with his feet.

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch said: “I was little bit disappointed we didn’t go on to win the game, we had two really good chances, but at the same time I thought the boys were excellent.

“Cliftonville are top of the League, they’re flying and I thought we contained them really, really well.

“I’m certainly not overly disappointed, but it’s one we’ll probably look back on and feel we could have got more out of it.

“We knocked the ball around really well, and I felt we dominated the second half.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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