Cliftonville laboured to a point against a well-drilled Dungannon Swifts side at Solitude this afternoon.
Trailing to a Douglas Wilson header after 20 minutes, the Reds drew level when Joe Gormley’s lob of the visiting goalkeeper was adjudged to have crossed the line before being cleared.
That, however, would prove the hosts’ last real opening of a hugely frustrating afternoon that ended with neither Calvin McCurry nor Conor McMenamin being able to get on the end of Gormley’s injury-time pass across the face of goal.
During a low-key opening, the first real chance of note was carved out by the hosts when Chris Curran fed Gormley down the right but his cross was a little too high for McMenamin, who nevertheless did well to steer header towards keeper Conner Byrne.
Wilson then stopped McMenamin supplying a pass to Gormley inside the area before Shane McGinty was off target with the Swifts’ first sniff of goal.
They didn’t have too long to wait for the next; Wilson bulleting his header into the bottom corner from Caolan McAleer’s free-kick delivery.
Cliftonville would level soon later, though, when Levi Ives provied Gormley with a haf-chance that he did superbly well to lift over the advancing keeper and over the line before defender Dylan King could intervene.
Early in the second period, the Reds saw two decent threats come to nothing inside 60 seconds. First, Michael McCrudden slipped while attempting to tee up Gormley, who was then unable to get on the end of McMenamin’s pass after a defensive error from the visitors.
On 76 minutes, Wilson got his body in the way to stop McCrudden firing in a shot from close range before the Reds were grateful to Richard Brush for ensuring McAleer couldn’t make the most of Conor McDermott’s moment of miscontrol.
Having struggled to create any chances in the second period, Cliftonville almost stole the points deep in injury-time when Curran supplied Gormley on the right and he fizzed a ball across the face of goal that evaded both McCurry and McMenamin.
Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Harney (Foster, 28 mins), C Curran, McCrudden (Maguire, 81 mins), Doherty (McCurry, 87 mins), Gormley, McMenamin, Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, Wilson, Casey, Rocks.