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 an Ulster Cup tie at the start of the 1978/79 season.
The Reds travelled to Windsor Park for a ‘home’ game against Linfield that was turned on its head in the closing stages.
Late goal by Platt humbles Blues in Ulster Cup
Surprise, surprise, who would have believed it?
Cliftonville, who had to absorb some stiff pressure in the opening half, paced themselves like 15-round fighters to score the winning goal in the 83rd minute to give them a 3-2 victory over the fancied team of the season, Linfield.
In the first half in which both teams showed snatches of good football, the score was 2-1 in Linfield’s favour.
Linfield, who were the away side on their own pitch, got off to a fine start in the fifth minute when Billy Murray scored with a left foot shot after being put through by Jimmy Martin.
Brian Johnston made a good attempt to save but could only push the ball into the roof of the net.
In the seventh and eighth minutes, Cliftonville had two good chances but Tony Bell and John Platt failed to take advantage of the openings.
Linfield were equally remiss when Paul Kirk headed twice over the bar and John Garrett failed twice at close range.
However Cliftonville, without losing their poise, drew level in the 36th minute when Bell hammered a great equaliser with an oblique drive after Barney Bowers had opened up the Linfield defence.
Right on the interval, Billy Murray was fouled by Bowers and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Cliftonville players protested and, on consultation with the linesman, a free-kick on the edge of the box was given. Frankie Parkes crossed into the middle and Kirk headed Linfield into the lead.
The early part of the second half was very scrappy indeed and the main incidents were the yellow cards to Brendan McGuigan (sic*) and Michael Adair, both Cliftonville, on Murray and Johnny Jamieson, respectively.
Both teams made substitutions. John O’Connor coming on for John Hewitt in the 72nd minute for Cliftonville and Cyril Hewitt for Roy Coyle. From this point the tempo of the game increased and, strangely enough, it was Cliftonville who showed the greater drive.
In the 78th minute, Kirk headed over the bar from Garrett and then the roof fell in for Linfield.
In the 79th minute, Bowers, one of the night’s outstanding players, picked up a fine cross from Tony Bell and, spotting Barclay out of his goal, lofted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.
In the 83rd minute, Platt gave his side the winner after good work from McGuicken (sic*) to create a well deserved victory.