Ross Lavery emerged from the bench to bag his first ever goal for Cliftonville and earn a 1-1 draw with Differdange in tonight's Europa League First Qualifying Round tie at Stade Municipal de la Ville. The Reds, who handed debuts to goalkeeper Jason Mooney and new captain Jason McGuinness, fell behind when Omar Er Rafik converted from close range seven minutes before the interval. Donnellys Jay and Martin went close to levelling for Cliftonville ahead of Lavery pouncing with an 89th minute header which leaves the contest delicately poised ahead of next week's return meeting at Solitude. The first real opportunity of the game arrived when Mooney saved well from Jordan Yeye and, on 22 minutes, Andy May nodded wide for the hosts before Jay Donnelly's dipping volley forced Differdange keeper Julien Weber into a spot of amateur acrobatics at the expense of a corner. May was off target again ahead of Martin Donnelly and Daniel Hughes threatening for Cliftonville but the deadlock was broken when Andrew Rodrigues crossed from deep and McGuinness' clearance was charged down by Pedro Ribeiro; the ball falling perfectly for Er Rafik to stab home. After the interval, Yeye was once again kept at bay by Mooney ahead of Martin Donnelly hooking wide with his right foot after being teed up by Jude Winchester. Substitute Davy McDaid had an attempt charged down and Jay Donnelly missed the target after Weber had flapped at a corner before Cliftonville's persistence was eventually rewarded a minute from time when Differdange failed to clear James Knowles' corner and Jay Donnelly whipped in an inviting cross for the unmarked Lavery to level with a confident back-post header. In the four minutes of time added on by Andorran referee Ignasi Villamayor Rozados, home substitute Jeff Lascak twice threatened to restore Differdange's lead but the Reds held on for a deserved draw that they will hope to build upon back in Belfast next Thursday night.
Labour of Lav
Differdange 1-1 Cliftonville
Jason McGuinness challenges Omar Er Rafik; Levi Ives is put under pressure by Jordan Yeye and (right) Ross Lavery climbs high to nod the Reds level late on
12. 9. 10. 19. 20. 22. 23.
Peter Burke Davy McDaid Stephen Garrett Darren Murray Martin Murray Ross Lavery Tomas Cosgrove
1. 3. 4. 6. 7. 8. 11. 14. 17. 18. 21.
Jason Mooney Levi Ives Caoimhin Bonner Jason McGuinness Chris Curran James Knowles Martin Donnelly Daniel Hughes Ryan Catney Jude Winchester Jay Donnelly
Date Thursday, June 30, 2016
Competition Europa League First Qualifying Round, First Leg