As the 2019/20 season gears up for a return, we are 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 until we’re able to welcome our fans back, cliftonvillefc.net will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary reports – with today’s spotlight falling on a friendly with Macclesfield Town in 2010.
Staged at Crumlin United’s Mill Road home, the contest served as a warm-up for the Reds’ forthcoming Europa League engagements with HNK Cibalia.
Reds can’t Macc up the difference
Cliftonville fell to a disappointing defeat to English League Two side Macclesfield Town in Crumlin this afternoon.
The Reds were made to pay for some careless first-half defending as Emile Sinclair bagged a brace for the visitors but, despite bossing the game after the interval, Cliftonville were unable to fashion anything other than a George McMullan goal from the penalty spot.
Macclesfield found themselves under some early pressure but, after Liam Boyce had an effort hacked off the line and goalkeeper Carl Pentney had made a fine save from Kieran O’Connor, they began to assert a degree of control over proceedings and were rewarded when Tyrone Barnett capitalised on hesitancy at the back to square for Sinclair to convert – the referee deaf to protests over a foul on Chris Scannell in the build-up.
Cliftonville chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half but Stephen Garrett came close to levelling when his lob from Boyce’s throughball dropped just wide of the post.
Within a minute, the Silkmen had doubled their lead with Barnett once again providing the ball for Sinclair to smash home.
The Reds emerged a changed outfit after the interval and were given a route back into the contest when Garrett was felled by Pentney following another superb pass from Boyce.
The referee pointed to the penalty spot and McMulan stepped up to stroke into he bottom corner.
Cliftonville thought they’d levelled just minutes later when Boyce got a touch on another McMullan drive but, after a moment’s deliberation, the linesman raised his flag to rule the strike out.
Chris Scannell then forced a stop from Pentney and Ronan Scannell sent an audacious effort wide before Ciaran Caldwell thundered an opportunity into the side netting.
O’Connor then had a gilt-edged chance blocked before Boyce was once again denied by a last-gasp challenge as the Reds went in search of what at times seemed like an inevitable leveller.
The closest the tie came to producing another goal, however, was when Macclesfield’s Vinny Mukendi set off on a fantastic solo run which saw him outfox the efforts of Caldwell, Declan O’Hara and Ronan Scannell before curling an attempt with the outside of his boot which cannoned back off the post.
That would prove the final action of a contest which, though ultimately disappointed to have lost, Cliftonville can take great strides of encouragement from, having more than matched their full-time opponents for the majority.
Cliftonville: Connolly, Smyth, R Scannell, Caldwell, O’Hara, M Holland, O’Connor, McMullan, C Scannell, Garrett, Boyce. Subs: C Burns (for Holland), M Burns (for O’Connor), Jones (for Boyce), McKane (for Connolly).