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Half measures

Barry Gray felt Cliftonville shaded last night’s Danske Bank Premiership clash with Glenavon but was deeply frustrated that the hosts were unable to build on their first-half display to pocket full points.

The Reds – who threatened through Jay Donnelly (twice), Stephen Garrett (twice) and Joe Gormley in the opening 45 minutes – saw some decent openings go to waste after the interval before falling behind when Andrew Doyle edged the Lurgan Blues in front.

Though Donnelly levelled shortly afterwards, Cliftonville were unable to generate any real momentum as the clock ticked down, with Gray reflecting: “We needed to win the game and we didn’t do it.

“We can probably be happy with the first-half performance but, like many other games this season, it’s not long enough. In the second-half, I wouldn’t be massively happy with the performance levels but we still created – and missed – chances.

“We’ve got to put them in the net, they aren’t difficult chances and we’ve got quality players in that area that just aren’t converting them.

“You can get lazy and accept that at least we didn’t get beat, but that’s not good enough for us. Last night was about winning. We had opportunities to go into the lead in the first-half but didn’t take them and, having been massively on top, we never pushed on.”

There was no doubt that Cliftonville’s display was much improved from Friday’s 6-4 defeat to Ballinamallard United, but Gray stressed the importance of marrying performances with positive results.

“We do follow bad days up with good work ethic like we did last night, but supporters want to see wins and so do we,” he explains.

“Results don’t always reflect exactly what we do on and off the pitch and we can assure the fans that there is plenty of work going on to try and get us through this transition period. I’m not the most patient man and if I was sitting in the stand I wouldn’t be one of the most patient men either, so I can’t expect them to be patient and see the big picture all the time. What we can say is that we are all doing our best to get us back to winning games.”