Paddy McLaughlin was pleased with Cliftonville’s response to their weekend disappointment after seeing them rattle in three unanswered goals against Warrenpoint Town last night.
Undone by a last-gasp wonder-strike by Glentoran last time out, the Reds got back to winning ways thanks to Ryan Curran finishes either side of an eye-catching Paul O’Neill effort and McLaughlin was heartened by his players’ attitude in the aftermath of Saturday’s setback.
“Looking at Warrenpoint’s results over the last couple of weeks, including a draw at Larne which not many people would have fancied them to get, we knew how well they were going to be set up and how hard they would work to get men behind the ball – they do that in numbers and make it a battle,” he explained.
“I thought we took on the challenge brilliantly and stood up to the physical challenges as well as playing some patient football, so to get three goals, three points and a clean sheet was a good night’s work for us.
“Coming away from Saturday, you could be feeling down and thinking luck’s against us but the boys were fresh coming into training on Monday and dusted themselves down from the weekend. They couldn’t wait to get back on the pitch again and play, which I think showed in our second goal.
“Paul O’Neill has been excellent for us, that’s two goals in three games and I think he and Ryan Curran are building up a bit of a partnership, which is good for us long-term because the two of them work their socks off for the team and complement eachother really well.”
The only downside to Cliftonville’s evening was the red card picked up by Jamie Harney with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Warrenpoint defender Danny Wallace was dismissed for appearing to catch Chris Curran with his arm in an attempt to block him off, with referee Steven Gregg likewise sending Harney off for confronting the Town man in the aftermath of the incident.
McLaughlin felt both players were harshly treated and reflected: “I thought Danny Wallace took Chris Curran out. It’s probably a deliberate foul but it’s probably a booking in most people’s eyes. The referee sees it differently.
“Harney’s got involved in something he doesn’t need to get involved in but he’s been our captain for the last couple of weeks when Chris has been injured and he feels as if he has to protect his players and rightly so, you expect that of a senior player. From that point of view, I can understand him going in there and remonstrating but I don’t think it’s two reds, definitely not. I think Wallace’s is a booking and I think Harney, for just getting involved in an argument he didn’t need to get involved in, is also a booking – it’s not two straight reds.
“I hope the referee will look back on it and see it as two bookings but we’ll just have to accept it and get on with it, even though it’s disappointing to see two young players missing three games for something so needless.”