With just one day until the Europa League Preliminary Round draw, cliftonvillefc.net continues a weekly mini-series reflecting on the good, the bad and the in-betweens of the 2018/19 season.
Every Monday, we’ll take a chronological look back on a new month from the campaign – with an inconsistent November taking centre stage today.
After ending October with a rare away victory over Coleraine, the Reds left it late to ensure their winning momentum carried over into the following month thanks to yet another late, late strike against Glentoran.
Having downed the east Belfast side with an injury-time strike on the opening day of the Danske Bank Premiership season, Cliftonville once again plundered all three points in a dramatic finish that saw Joe Gormley find the bottom corner to spark manic celebrations among the home support.
A third consecutive win was duly recorded nine days later when the Sky Sports cameras rolled into Solitude for a League clash with Newry City that got off to an ominous start when Darragh Noonan gave the visitors a fourth minute lead.
Any intention City had of repeating September’s triumph over Cliftonville was, however, snuffed out in a deadly seven-minute spell that saw Rory Donnelly, Gormley and Ryan Curran wrap up a 3-1 success before half-time.
The Reds’ winning streak was brought to a conclusion at The Ballymena Showgrounds where, as is par for the course, an encouraging first-half display made way for a second period that saw the hosts pull two goals in front.
Conor McDonald’s 83rd minute goal would prove a mere consolation as Cliftonville’s month took a downward turn that would deliver League Cup elimination at the hands of Dungannon Swifts a few days later.
A dour Quarter-Final was lit up by an outrageous Levi Ives opener seven minutes into Extra-Time, only for the Tyrone side to hit back with a last-gasp leveller to tee up a penalty shoot-out from which they would ultimately prevail.
A trip to Windsor Park was next on the agenda, with a Gormley strike at the end of the opening period offering a glimpse of hope to a Reds side that found itself 2-0 down before finding any semblance of rhythm.
Though hopes of a comeback looked to have been stifled when the Blues made it 3-1 on the hour, Jamie Harney’s immediate response reduced the deficit again only for the hosts to seal their win when Andy Waterworth completed his hat-trick nine minutes from time.
November ended with supporters nominating Ives – who also landed October’s accolade – their Sean Graham Player of the Month as Cliftonville headed into an unexpectedly significant December…
Cliftonville 1-0 Glentoran
Cliftonville 3-1 Newry City
R Donnelly, Gormley, R Curran
Ballymena 2-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville 1-1 Dungannon Swifts [2-3 on penalties]
Linfield 4-2 Cliftonville