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Stroller coasters

Our mini series highlighting the trials and tribulations of the Club’s various underage sides continues with today’s delve into the Academy for a look at Cliftonville Strollers’ season to date.

They, like all teams operating under the auspices of the Irish FA, are currently playing the waiting game for their comeback to action amid the protective measures being taken against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and there is certainly plenty of reason for them to look forward to football’s return.

For the Wee Reds – who have seen a number of their players represent the Club’s senior team in recent times – have a Harry Cavan Youth Cup Final clash with Institute to pencil into their diaries, having overcome St Mary’s (Newtownabbey), St Oliver Plunkett Under 18s, Dungannon Swifts Under 18s and, just last weekend, Glentoran Colts in the competition’s previous rounds.

The Strollers’ Academy League campaign started with a 3-1 victory over Linfield Rangers at the start of September, while draws with Warrenpoint Town and Ards saw them complete the first month of the season unbeaten.

The same could be said of October courtesy of wins against both Ballinamallard United and Carrick Rangers, with a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Newry City on November 15 proving their first defeat of the term.

A positive response throughout December included triumphs over Ballymena United, Glenavon and Coleraine ahead of a 2-2 draw with fellow title challengers Crusaders just before Christmas.

Despite beginning 2020 by getting the better of Warrenpoint and Linfield, the Strollers would suffer a critical loss against a Dungannon side that was gaining serious momentum at the top of the table.

After seeing off Glenavon and Carrick, a setback against Ards saw the Reds slip slightly off the title pace, however a 2-1 win over the Crues at the end of last month helped blast fresh wind back into their sails, only for the current suspension to bring their push to a halt for now.

As things stand, the Wee Reds are third in the table, four points off the second-placed Crues – over whom they hold three games in hand – and 10 behind leaders Dungannon, who have played two more, and you can keep firmly up to date with all developments pertaining to the Strollers side by bookmarking this link.