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Saturday Stepback: 1925

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, will revisit a match from the past via the medium of contemporary reports – with today’s spotlight falling on a League tie in the second week of the 1925/26 season (which was explored in greater detail earlier this week).

The Reds welcomed Queen’s Island to Solitude for a fixture that yield the team’s only point from their first eight outings of the campaign.

Island lead by penalty but home men finish strongly

These teams met at Cliftonville today before a large crowd. They both lost their opening League games last Saturday, but each were hopeful of improving their position this afternoon. Teams:-

Cliftonville – Williams; Rainey, Maguire; SImpson, Willis, Addis; Quinn, Watson, Mortished, Howard and Jones.

Queen’s Island – Scott (H); Thompson, Fergie; Wilson, Murdough; Holmes; Turnbull, Croft, Scott (S), Burns and Hutchinson.

Referee, J McDonald (URL)

A strong breeze blew towards the city goal. Though Cliftonville were first out, it was three minutes after the advertised time before the referee and linesmen appeared, and then the Island did not take the field until the referee signalled twice. It was five minutes after three when Scott kicked off for the Island against the breeze.

In the first two minutes, both Quinn and Mortished had chances for the home side but Quinn sent behind and Mortished missed, allowing Thompson to clear.

After the Island left wing had made an abortive run, a fine pass from Mortished to Quinn was too fast for the latter and the ball rolled out.

It could not be said the Island were making much progress as, between the keen tackling of the Reds’ back division and the strong wind, they were rarely in the home half.

Despite all they could do, Cliftonville, with more than one good opening, could not get the desired goal. A tribute, however, must be paid to the Island defence, especially the two backs, Thompson and Fergie, for their steady play and it was required.

The best and most likely scoring shot of the half was put in by Watson and it was only at the second attempt Scott got the ball away but he did so cleverly.

Just on the interval, following a free kick for Rainey handling, Fergie took a penalty kick and scored for the Island.

Half time – Queen’s Island 1 goal, Cliftonville nil.

On resuming and with the wind in their favour, Island were soon down at the Cliftonville end, where Croft headed past.

Cliftonville replied in spirited fashion and Jones gained a corner from which Scott had to clear. It was a moot point whether he carried the ball over the line, but the referee decided otherwise.

The home side were now doing better than at any time during the game, but the forwards were woefully weak at close quarters.

After 17 minutes’ play, Howard, following a good run of the forwards, levelled the score amidst enthusiasm of from the Reds’ supporters.

Mortished retired for a few minutes with a cut knee and, in his absence, Burns scored a second goal after 25 minutes.

Cliftonville tried hard to get on terms and another of Jones’s centres was missed. All the same, Island held the advantage of play.

Five minutes from time, after Scott had saved from Jones, Watson equalised, a drawn game resulting.

Result – Cliftonville 2 goals, Queen’s Island 2 goals.

Scorers:- Queen’s Island: Fergie (penalty), Burns; Cliftonville: Howard, Watson