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Saturday Stepback: 2011

Though the 2019/20 season was scheduled to have concluded by now, we are nevertheless continuing to fill the void left by Cliftonville-free Saturdays with the latest chapter of our weekly series transporting us back to a game played on this day in yesteryear.

Thanks to the help of the Club’s Heritage Development Officer, Paul Treanor, every Saturday during football’s downtime, will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary reports – with today’s spotlight falling on a friendly with Bangor in 2011.

Staged in preparation for the Reds’ Europa League encounter with The New Saints, the game saw two players register hat-tricks in a one-sided affair in north Belfast.

Duo do the trick

Stephen Garrett and Joe Gormley each claimed hat-tricks as Cliftonville completed their European preparations with an impressive 7-0 victory over Bangor at Solitude this evening.

A Garrett double had the Reds two goals to the good at the interval ahead of Gormley’s introduction kicking off a dominant second-half display against the Championship 1 outfit.

Martin Donnelly carved out the first chance of the game but dragged his right footed attempt wide of the mark, though it wouldn’t be long before the breakthrough came – and it was certainly worth the wait.

Full-back Eamonn Seydak began the move, surging forward from the back before passing to Ryan Catney in the centre of the park. He switched flanks to play Aaron Smyth into possession and he, in turn, found Garrett, who traded passes with George McMullan before rounding goalkeeper Paul Cairnduff and slotting home.

Darren Stirling headed over from a corner on 17 minutes as the Seasiders wasted a good chance to draw level, while Rory Donnelly was unlucky not to convert a Seydak cross 60 seconds later.

The second goal eventually arrived 11 minutes before the break when Rory Donnelly’s low cross was blocked by Gareth Beattie, whose attempted clearance cannoned off Garrett’s face and into the net.

Bangor went close with two chances towards the end of the half when first Gareth McLaughlin scaled the bar after miscommunication at the back between Ciaran Caldwell and Jack Duffin had presented the opportunity, while Stirling was again off target with a low curling effort.

The Reds introduced former Seasiders keeper Ryan Brown at the interval along with striker Gormley, but it was Martin Donnelly who had the ball in the net next – although his header from a Barry Johnston effort was ruled out for offside.

Nevertheless, it would not be long before the third goal arrived; Gormley keeping his cool to calmly dink the ball over Cairnduff and into the bottom corner.

Garrett completed his treble with a powerful header from Martin Donnelly’s 63rd minute header and Gormley netted again after being set up by McMullan with 16 minutes to play.

He wrapped up his own hat-trick after good work from Ronan Scannell and, on 83 minutes, it was 7-0 when Gormley confidently volleyed home after Bangor’s replacement keeper had challenged Peter Steele for a loose ball on the edge of the area.

Cliftonville: Duffin, Smyth, Caldwell, McVeigh, Catney, Garrett, McMullan, R Donnelly, Johnston, M Donnelly, Seydak. Subs: R Scannell (Seydak), Steele (Garrett), Brown (Duffin), Templeton (M Donnelly), Clarke (Johnston), Lynch (Catney), Gormley (R Donnelly), Bradley (Smyth).