Regular readers of our Matchday Magazine will know all the facts and figures behind each new week at Cliftonville Football Club, while our Twitter followers are regaled with daily delves into the archives and Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Portadown left a number of marks on the record books.
Having slipped to 1-0 defeats in both of its previous outings, Rory Hale’s 61st minute strike saw him become the first Reds player to find the net in the current away strip, while Portadown’s late reply was their first goal against Cliftonville since January 18, 2014.
In the seven years since, the Reds had enjoyed 13 consecutive wins over the Ports and, though naturally disappointed to see that victorious streak brought to an end so late on, the outcome did stretch Cliftonville’s unbeaten run at Shamrock Park to beyond a decade.
Not since a 2-1 reverse on February 8, 2011 – when the visitors took an early lead through Chris Scannell only to concede to Alan Cawley and Kevin Braniff in the last 13 minutes – have the Reds emerged from the Brownstown Road ground without at least a point to their name.
As well as ending Cliftonville’s run of clean sheets against Portadown, Adam McCallum’s injury-time header also maintained the pattern of last-gasp goals in every fixture throughout 2021 so far.
Paul O’Neill’s 86th minute leveller against Coleraine on February 2 was the earliest any Reds match has been settled since the turn of the year.
Every other game has delivered goals in the 89th minute or later, with Paddy McLaughlin’s side benefiting against Dungannon Swifts, Linfield, Glenavon and Warrenpoint Town alongside concessions to Crusaders, the Blues, Glentoran and now the Ports.
On the subject of clock-busting strikes pertaining to this particular fixture, McCallum’s finish also prolonged a curious series that has seen late equalisers scored in every single Shamrock Park draw between the sides over the last 10 years.
In that time, Cliftonville have won seven of their 11 fixtures at the venue, with this weekend’s 1-1 outcome the only one of four draws that didn’t end 3-3.
Back in March 2012, Ryan Catney rescued an injury-time point, with George McMullan doing likewise in December of the same year, while the home side were grateful to Josh Barton for the 85th minute strike which sealed the third of those 3-3 results in November 2013.
Surprisingly low, however, was the number of players who featured against their former Club on Saturday. Only ex-Port Chris Curran and one-time Cliftonville defender Paul Finnegan took to the field, with the Reds’ additional former Portadown duo Declan Dunne (unused sub) and Garry Breen (injured) uninvolved, while home trio Paddy McNally, Conall McGrandles and Chris Crane missed out on the contest entirely.
The weekend in numbers
13: Cliftonville’s run of consecutive wins over Portadown ended at 13
10: Years since the Reds’ last defeat at Shamrock Park
8: Number of goals in the 89th minute or later in Cliftonville’s eight matches in 2021
7: Years since the Ports’ previous goal against the Reds
4: All four draws between the sides at Shamrock Park in the last decade have been settled after the 85th minute
3: Amount of 3-3 draws the teams contested at the venue between March 2012 and November 2013
2: Number of players (Chris Curran and Paul Finnegan) out of a potential seven who faced their former Club
1: Rory Hale became the current away kit’s first goalscorer