Cliftonville produced a dreadful performance en route to a first loss to Dungannon Swifts in some eight years at a rain-lashed Solitude this afternoon. Trailing to Andy Mitchell's first-half strike, the Reds fell further behind when Mitchell seized upon what's best described as hesitant defending to double the visitors' lead and, though Caoimhin Bonner reduced the deficit, there would be no way back for Cliftonville. A dreary opening quarter of the contest delivered very well by way of entertainment but, when the hosts cheaply conceded possession inside their own half, the Swifts wasted little time in exacting maximum punishment as Ally Teggart's left-wing cross was turned home by Mitchell. The same player then had an attempt saved by Jason Mooney before Cliftonville threatened an equaliser with a late surge of pressure in the closing minutes of the first-half. After having penalty appeals waved away when Jay Donnelly's volley appeared to be charged down by Douglas Wilson's hand, the Reds went agonisingly close only for Bonner's close-range strike to be superbly cleared off the line by David Armstrong. Jay Donnelly then dragged an attempt wide under pressure from Wilson but it was not until 16 minutes into the second-half that Cliftonville next went close to finding the net; this time Martin Donnelly sending a free-kick whistling just past the post. Two minutes later, Dungannon doubled their advantage when goalkeeper Andy Coleman's goal kick somehow parted the home defence down the middle and Mitchell showed great composure to step past Mooney and stroke into an empty net. Jay Donnelly almost pulled one back only to be denied by a fine Coleman stop and, though Bonner nodded home from Martin Donnelly's 73rd minute corner, there would be no late fightback for the Reds, who saw another brace of spot-kick shouts repelled by referee Lee Tavinder.
Cliftonville 1-2 Dungannon Swifts
Caoimhin Bonner clears from Ryan Harpur; Ryan Catney nods the ball forward and (right) Jay Donnelly takes control under pressure from Douglas Wilson
Half Gate Draw Number 41264
10. 14. 16. 19. 22.
Stephen Garrett Daniel Hughes Ruairi Harkin Darren Murray Ross Lavery
1. 2. 3. 4. 7. 9. 11. 17. 18. 21. 23.
Jason Mooney Jaimie McGovern Levi Ives Caoimhin Bonner Chris Curran Davy McDaid Martin Donnelly Ryan Catney Jude Winchester Jay Donnelly Tomas Cosgrove