Davy McDaid emerged from the bench to score the goal that earned Cliftonville victory over Carrick Rangers at Solitude this afternoon. Dominant throughout this Danske Bank Premiership contest, the Reds were thwarted time and again by visiting keeper Brian Neeson before McDaid latched onto a cross from fellow substitute Stephen Garrett to find the net with 11 minutes left on the clock. Things might have been different had Jude Winchester been able to open the scoring with an early chance but, after being threaded through on goal by Daniel Hughes, he became the first player of the day to be thwarted by Neeson. Shortly afterwards, Rangers' keeper made a flying stop from Ruairi Harkin before Jay Donnelly dragged an attempt across the face of goal and wide. In a rare venture forward, Carrick came close to breaking the deadlock themselves when Adam Salley's smart effort came back off the crossbar before Jaimie McGovern averted the danger by chesting the ball back into the grasp of keeper Peter Burke. Back at the other end, Martin Donnelly brought a stop out of Neeson before a triple save - denying Winchester, Levi Ives and then Winchester again - somehow preserved the stalemate ahead of skipper Jason McGuinness hooking an effort onto the roof of the net. Carrick should have gone ahead on 29 minutes when Gareth McKeown's long throw-in virtually crept along the goal-line, with Jonathan Wilson unable to react in time to touch over the line. The first-half ended with a Harkin free-kick being saved by Neeson, with the second period commencing with Winchester scaling the crossbar. Harkin was then off target before McGuinness saw a header stopped by Neeson, only for Rangers to come within inches of an eye-catching breakthrough when former Reds forward Martin Murray crashed a long-range drive off the inside of the post. The same upright stopped Nathan Hanley from netting a free-kick before Cliftonville regained control of proceedings; Winchester whistling a shot just wide and Jay Donnelly seeing penalty appeals waved away by referee Ross Dunlop after taking a tumble under pressure from Steven McCullough. The goal finally came on 79 minutes when Garrett's dogged persistence down the left ended with a low cross which, though Ives was unable to finish off, fell perfectly into the path of McDaid, who made no mistake. Despite being good value for the win, the Reds were indebted to Burke for a fingertip save in injury-time just when it looked like McKeown's opportunist strike was set to sneak below the crossbar.
Cliftonville 1-0 Carrick Rangers
Levi Ives is denied by Carrick goalkeeper Brian Neeson; Jason McGuinness battles with Paddy McNally and (right) Jay Donnelly holds off Martin Murray
4. 9. 10 26. 29.
Caoimhin Bonner Davy McDaid Stephen Garrett Andrew Mooney Gary Donnelly
12. 2. 4. 6. 8. 11. 14. 16. 18. 21. 23.
Peter Burke Jaimie McGovern Levi Ives Jason McGuinness James Knowles Martin Donnelly Daniel Hughes Ruairi Harkin Jude Winchester Jay Donnelly Tomas Cosgrove