Despite a valiant late rally, Cliftonville came away from this evening’s Danske Bank Premiership fixture against Ballymena United with nothing to show for their efforts.
Trailing by two goals as the contest entered its final 15 minutes, substitute Rory Donnelly pulled one back for the Reds who, try as they might, were unable to muster an equaliser.
As has become something of a recurring theme at The Showgrounds in recent years, it wasn’t until Cliftonville were 2-0 down that they really exerted any serious authority on proceedings and, with Cathair Friel having put United ahead in the first-half, the hosts doubled their advantage through Leroy Millar at the end of a sequence that started with Adam Lecky earning the latest in a series of cheap free-kicks from referee Tony Clarke.
The Reds responded immediately through Rory Donnelly and twice went close to levelling via Conor McMenamin and Chris Curran in a late rally that saw a host of promising openings unfortunately come to nothing.
Cliftonville: Brush, Breen, Grace, C Curran, R Curran, A Harkin, Bagnall, McConnell, Gormley, McMenamin, Gorman. Subs: Neeson, McGovern, Ives, Garrett (for Harkin, 79 mins), R. Donnelly (for McConnell, 56 mins), Catney, A Donnelly.