Paddy McLaughlin was delighted Cliftonville heeded his half-time call for greater ruthlessness in yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Warrenpoint Town.
Despite carving out a host of openings during a dominant first-half display, the Reds had just a single Ruaidhri Donnelly goal to show for their efforts but upped the ante after the interval, with Conor McMenamin, Liam Bagnall and Joe Gormley adding their names to the scoresheet ahead of Donnelly claiming his second to put the visitors 5-0 up.
Town reduced the arrears with a late penalty, but McLaughlin had no negatives to dwell upon.
“We played well throughout the whole game but just didn’t make the most of our chances in the first-half,” he said.
“After the early goal, we had four or five really good opportunities that we didn’t take and that’s what we spoke about at half-time, a need to be more clinical in front of goal and the players delivered on that.
“Our front play in the second half was superb and we scored all the chances we created.”
Though most of yesterday’s scorers are regular features in the goal charts, there’s no question it was Bagnall’s 30-yard rasper that had most people talking after the match – with McLaughlin barely able to believe what he had just witnessed from the former Warrenpoint midfielder.
“Ruaidhri was brilliant,” added the boss.
“His all round play was excellent and he scored a couple of goals as well. Joe is Joe and will always score goals, he is a goal machine, but I couldn’t say the same about Liam Bagnall.
“I thought he was trying to squeeze them into the corner – what a strike it was! He has been top class since I became Manager and is one of the first names on the team sheet because of what he brings to the team.
“If he can score more goals like that, it will take his game to another level.”