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Monday Monthly: November

As the countdown to the new Irish League season continues, produces the fourth chapter of a new weekly mini-series reflecting on the good, the bad and the in-betweens of the term just finished.

Every Monday, we’ll take a chronological look back on a new month from the 2019/20 campaign – with November’s action taking centre stage today.

Cliftonville’s schedule began in perfect fashion when Joe Gormley found the net three minutes into a Mourneview Park encounter with Glenavon, only for Andy Hall to draw the hosts level as the Lurgan Blues began to grow more and more into the contest.

The Reds did well to absorb that pressure, however, and would go on to pocket all three Danske Bank Premiership points thanks to Ruaidhri Donnelly’s second-half finish.

The following week, a dominant display saw Warrenpoint Town put the sword at a rainsoaked Solitude, where an outrageous Conor McDermott strike claimed the headlines.

Ahead through Mark McKee, Cliftonville doubled their advantage when McDermott took receipt of the ball inside his own half before launching an inch-perfect blast over the head of goalkeeper Beeraat Turker.

Gormley would make it 3-0 before half-time, with Ryan Curran’s penalty rounding things off after the break.

The winning run continued when Ballymena United visited north Belfast seven days later, with Donnelly’s precise finish proving the difference between the teams, teeing the Reds up for an eagerly-anticipated County Antrim Shield semi-final showdown with Glentoran.

One goal was again enough to win it; Gormley getting his angles absolutely spot-on to lift the ball over the head of out-rushing goalkeeper Elliott Morris and beyond the despairing last-ditch efforts of defender Gavin Peers.

Next up was a long overdue visit to a new-look Inver Park, where Cliftonville found themselves behind early on through Garry Breen’s own goal, only for Gormley to thunder home an unstoppable equaliser.

Although Curran would strike a post late on, the 1-1 draw was a fair outcome – and the same could be said the following week when the Glens returned to Solitude for a comfortable 2-0 success on a day when the Reds uncharacteristically never got going.

November ended with supporters nominating McDermott their Sean Graham Player of the Month as the Reds looked ahead to a League Cup quarter-final joust with Linfield in November’s opening week.

Glenavon 1-2 Cliftonville
Gormley, R Donnelly

Cliftonville 4-0 Warrenpoint Town
McKee, McDermott, Gormley, R Curran

Cliftonville 1-0 Ballymena United
R Donnelly

Cliftonville 1-0 Glentoran

Larne 1-1 Cliftonville

Cliftonville 0-2 Glentoran