Paddy McLaughlin was pleased that Cliftonville didn’t let frustration get the better of them in yesterday’s narrow defeat of Warrenpoint Town.
A well-drilled visiting defence crowded the Reds out time and again and, when they did manage to negotiate a route towards goal, found keeper Conor Mitchell in inspired form.
Patience was, however, the name of the game and, after Joe Gormley, Chris Curran, Levi Ives, Luke Turner, Kris Lowe, Ryan Curran and Chris Gallagher had all been denied by Mitchell, Ryan Curran connected with Ives’ 73rd minute corner to nod home what proved to be the day’s only goal.
“They’re probably the toughest three points we’ve earned this year,” said McLaughlin.
“Warrenpoint were excellently set up and very well organised right the way through the game and when you see their keeper pulling off a couple of great saves, you’re thinking it’s going to be one of them frustrating days.
“To get over the line in the end, that’s probably as tough a three points as we’ve earned so far.
“When you’re on top with the forward-thinking players we have in the team and the strikers that we have, you always trust them and you always expect and believe in them that if they get a chance, they’ll score.
“The keeper’s pulled off a couple of great saves so every time one goes abegging, you’re hoping for the next one to go in, so when it came, we were definitely delighted and relieved.”
With neat and tidy interplay failing to yield the breakthrough, McLaughlin – who revealed that Paul O’Neill missed the game as a precaution following his first 90 minutes of the season in midweek – was delighted to see his men use their set-play prowess to shatter Point’s resistance.
“I think the people attacking the ball are trusting and believing in the quality of whoever’s providing the cross,” he said.
“All season long, the deliveries from Levi Ives, Jamie McDonagh and Daniel Kearns have been fantastic and hopefully that continues.”