Portstewart 1-3 Cliftonville
Goals from Joe Gormley, Jonny Addis and Rory Hale saw Cliftonville claim a friendly victory over Portstewart in this afternoon’s pre-season encounter at Mullaghacall.
The hosts had levelled things up just before half-time, but the Reds produced a dominant second-half performance as preparations for the upcoming Danske Bank Premiership campaign continued in earnest.
Boss Paddy McLaughlin made a number of changes from the side that had overcome Ards last time out, with Stephen McGuinness and Conor Scannell stepping into a team already containing fellow young gun Odhran Casey.
It was McGuinness whose efforts down the left flank yielded the opening goal. After getting the better of the full-back, he whipped in a cross which eventually fell favourably for Gormley to touch over the line with his left foot.
Chris Curran went close after a lightning raid down the right but Portstewart would be on level terms before half-time when Richard Vauls reacted quickest after Declan Dunne had turned Jonny Watt’s header against the crossbar, although there was a suggestion that Hale had got the final touch before the ball found the net.
The second period was just minutes old when Cliftonville restored their advantage courtesy of Addis climbing highest to nod home a corner from substitute Jamie McDonagh.
McDonagh’s deliveries caused havoc on a number of occasions thereafter, although neither Gormley nor Ryan Curran were able to get on the end of teasing balls into the box.
Ryan Curran was also kept at bay by a good save from the home keeper, who was left helpess near the end when Hale slammed past him from close range after seizing on another McDonagh cross.
Cliftonville: Dunne, Foster, Addis, Doherty, C Curran, Hale, Kearns, McGuinness, Casey, Gormley, Scannell. Subs: D Breen (for Dunne), Ives (for Casey), R Curran (for Scannell), McDonagh (for Kearns), Trialist (for Foster), Scannell (for Gormley), Casey (for Addis), Foster (for C Curran).