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Eu Reds: The New Saints

As the countdown to Cliftonville’s return to footballing action steps up, turns the clock back nine years to acknowledge the latest in a recent line of continental anniversaries.

For it was on this very day in 2011 that the Reds contested a Europa League First Qualifying Round tie with Welsh opponents The New Saints at Park Hall.

Less than a fortnight after securing a friendly victory at the same venue, Tommy Breslin’s side returned to Oswestry and, roared on by a vociferous visiting support, claimed an encouraging 1-1 draw thanks to Barry Johnston’s sensational dipping strike cancelling out an Alex Darlington opener.

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

Today also marks the anniversary of another 1-1 draw away from home in Europe – one that laid the foundations for a more satisfactory outcome.

A last-gasp Ross Lavery header ensured the Reds departed Luxembourg with something to show for their efforts at the end of a Europa League First Qualifying Round contest with Differdange on this date in 2016.

Trailing to Omar Er Rafik’s first-half strike at Stade Municipal de la Ville, Cliftonville pounced with two minutes left on the clock when substitute Lavery got on the end of a Jay Donnelly cross to plant a firm header beyond goalkeeper Julien Weber – sparking scenes of wild jubilation among the visiting support.

Cliftonville: J Mooney, Ives, Bonner, McGuinness, Curran, M Donnelly, Hughes, Catney, Winchester, J Donnelly.
Subs: Burke, McDaid (for Hughes), Garrett, D Murray (for Curran), M Murray, Lavery (for M Donnelly), Cosgrove.