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Sore spot

Barry Gray says Cliftonville can’t be too tough on themselves after suffering a late defeat to Coleraine yesterday.

Ahead at the interval courtesy of Jay Donnelly’s well-taken effort, the Reds were forced to reshuffle their pack when both the goalscorer and striker Joe Gormley picked up injuries at the same time.

Unable to garner any real momentum thereafter, the visitors were pegged back before the Bannsiders were awarded a contentious late penalty that saw them win the game.

“I don’t think we can be too hard on ourselves,” says Gray.

“The changes that were forced upon us at the start of the second half probably dictated a lot of what we could do because it changed mindsets and our ability to attack.

“If you look at Coleraine, they made a couple of changes off the bench which massively boosted them, whereas we had our changes forced upon us – and it’s particularly unfortunate that we had to take off two of our attacking players.”

The duo, who are the Club’s leading scorers this term, lasted just three minutes of the second period, with Gray adding: “It’s very hard to replace players like Joe Gormley and Jay Donnelly.

“They have both suffered impact injuries and we hope they won’t be long term.”