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Reds are extra special

Cliftonville produced a stunning comeback to shock Coleraine and roar into Saturday’s Europa League Play-Off Final in a remarkable contest at Solitude tonight.

Trailing 2-0 when an unfortunate own goal by Richard Brush set the visitors on their way before a powerful James McLaughlin header doubled their advantage, the Reds pulled one back when Joe Gormley scrambled in from close range before half-time.

After the break, Cliftonville’s dominance saw Gormley, Ryan Curran, Conor McMenamin and Jamie Harney all go agonisingly close to levelling only for Coleraine to restore their two-goal advantage when, totally against the run of play, McLaughlin executed a sublime overhead kick.

McMenamin’s quick response dragged the Reds straight back into it and, in the 97th minute of a game dogged by stoppages and time-wasting, the hosts got their reward when Curran stroked home from the penalty spot after being felled by Josh Carson.

That took the game into Extra-Time, which was just two minutes old when Levi Ives stroked Cliftonville in front for the first time, ahead of McMenamin wrapping things up with a composed finish after a dramatic late breakaway.

Full report to follow…