As the wait for the commencement of the 2020/21 season goes on, 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 the opening day of the 1959/60 season.
The Reds welcomed Coleraine to Solitude for a contest that entertained in fits and starts and ended with a penalty kick failure that appeared to reduce the author to caps lock-enforced frustration.
Dramatic rally – and Reds win
Cliftonville opened the season with a 3-1 win at Solitude, over Coleraine.
They thoroughly deserved victory, going for the ball with speed and zest. They tried to play football and they succeeded more often than they failed.
Both sides started with plenty of fire and Fletcher displayed some fine touches in Coleraine’s approach play.
Coleraine’s passing had more purpose and a three-man movement brought them a goal in 10 minutes.
A cross-field pass from Fulton to McBride caught the home defence on the wrong foot and McBride set it up for Coyle to score easily from close in.
Coleraine slackened off and they paid the penalty 10 minutes later. McKeague gathered a pass on the right wing and although he seemed to play the ball with his arm, the referee allowed him to run on. His pass went to Bate and from near the penalty spot, he hammered the ball past Hunter.
Cliftonville got right on top after this goal and stayed around the Coleraine penalty area for a long time but all they had to show for it was a shot by Walsh which went over the bar.
McBride’s speed on the right wing frequently troubled the home defence. Once the winger almost scored himself and he set the ball up for his inside partner but Walsh was too slow and his shot was blocked.
Half-time – Cliftonville 1, Coleraine 1
The second half started with a chapter of mistakes that had the fans groaning and calling for more action.
Both sides were equally guilty of aimless or inaccurate passing.
Real excitement came after 22 minutes.
Blair set Coleraine on the attack up the right wing and from his pass, McBride sent over a lovely centre. It went to Fulton and instead of bulging the net, he shot weakly past.
Cliftonville raced away from the goal kick and when the ball was punted down the middle, Walsh raced on to it and put it past Hunter as he came out.
Two minutes later, Cliftonville were two goals ahead.
Bate tried a high shot. Hunter ounched it out and Hale lobbed it back over his head into the net.
IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THREE GOALS IN THREE MINUTES FOR CLIFTONVILLE. THEY WERE AWARDED A PENALTY FOR A FOUL BY HUNTER ON McKEAGUE. BATE TOOK THE SPOT KICK AND SENT IT A COUPLE OF YARDS WIDE.
Result – Cliftonville 3 (Bate, Walsh and Hale), Coleraine 1 (Coyle)
Cliftonville: Milligan; McKinley, Dowd; Crozier, Anderson, McCoy, Bate, Walsh, McKeague, Hale, Carroll.
Coleraine: Hunster; Harvey, McAreavey; Blair, Cassidy, Young; McBride, Walsh, Coyle, Fletcher, Fulton.
Referee: J Russell