Calvin McCurry marked his Cliftonville debut by scoring with just his second touch less than a minute after coming off the bench as Cliftonville overcame Knockbreda in this evening’s County Antrim Shield First Round tie.
Joe Gormley broke the deadlock after just 12 minutes when he followed up to convert after Conor McMenamin had rocketed a long-range attempt against the crossbar.
McMenamin then struck to make it 2-0 before the break, after which an Alex Pomeroy own goal extended the Reds’ lead further before the highlight of the night came when McCurry – only just introduced for Gormley – charged down a clearance from Knockbreda goalkeeper Conan Russell and kept his cool to tuck the ball into an empty net.
It was the visitors who had the first effort of the night with Pomeroy calling Richard Brush into action on three minutes ahead of Gormley nodding over at the other end.
The breakthrough came when Gormley beat Russell to the ball after McMenamin had rattled the woodwork and, after threatening to double their advantage through Ronans Wilson and Doherty, it was McMenamin’s firm low drive on 28 minutes that eventually made it 2-0.
Wilson and Levi Ives both tried their luck before the break and Joe Gorman was unlucky not to bank his first Reds goal when his header was cleared off the line by Karl Hamill.
Gormley should have made it 3-0 just before the break but, after seeing his header superbly stopped by Russell, blazed his rebound high and wide.
The Knockbreda keeper dealt with attempts from Maguire and McMenamin early in the second period and, after Chris Curran had volleyed wide, McMenamin got too much elevation on his shot when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper.
The third goal came in bizarre fashion when Pomeroy completely miscued his attempted near-post clearance of Doherty’s low corner and succeeded only in putting the ball in the net.
Maguire then saw a strike deflected behind before, just 30 seconds after entering the fray, 71st minute sub McCurry charged down Russell’s clearance and walked the ball over the line from close range to put the seal on things.
Cliftonville: Brush, Ives, C Curran, Foster, Wilson, Doherty, Gormley, Maguire, McMenamin, A Donnelly, Gorman. Subs: McKenna, McDermott, R Curran (for McMenamin), Garrett, Rocks, McCurry (for Gormley), Snodden (for Ives).
Match Sponsor: Anonymous
Half-Gate Draw: 113134