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Drawing fire

Coleraine 0-0 Cliftonville

Cliftonville were forced to settle for a point in this afternoon’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Coleraine at The Showgrounds.

Despite dominating the first-half, the Reds were grateful to goalkeeper Luke McNicholas – making his first League appearance for the Club – for preserving parity when he made a fine save to deny Matthew Shevlin.

The Bannsiders enjoyed a better time of things after the break but were likewise indebted to their own custodian, Gareth Deane, for a stop that kept Jonny Addis at bay and, though home sub Eoin Bradley clipped the bar in a rare breakaway, there’s no question that a draw was the least Cliftonville deserved for their efforts.

The afternoon almost got off to a disastrous start when Addis’ backpass ended with McNicholas presenting the ball straight to Patrick Kelly only for the keeper to react quicker than either the Coleraine man or team-mate Shevlin.

Cliftonville then went close when, at the end of a lengthy passing sequence, Joe Gormley’s shot was deflected wide before the same player saw a cross drift just over the heads of both Ryan Curran and Jamie McDonagh in the middle.

An unfortunate bobble stopped Daniel Kearns from getting a clean strike away after a surge through the middle and Addis headed wide before Coleraine looked destined to take the lead through Shevlin’s powerful blast only for McNicholas to get down in time to keep it out.

An error from Josh Carson allowed Curran to send Gormley scampering in behind but, after attempting to work some space from a tight angle, he saw his strike deflected behind by Stephen O’Donnell.

In the second-half, Bradley went close to putting the Bannsiders in front only to send his effort against the woodwork while, at the other end, Addis was denied twice in quick succession; first seeing a header blocked on the line by Lyndon Kane and then bringing a great reaction stop out of Deane from the rebound.

As the clock ticked down, the Reds looked the more likely winners but Ives saw a free-kick kept out by the defensive wall as the away side were forced to make do with just a point.

Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, R Curran, McDonagh (McDermott, 81 mins), Lowe, Donnelly, Addis, Gormley, Turner, Gallagher (C Curran, 69 mins), Kearns (O’Neill, 81 mins). Unused subs: Dunne, Harney, Doherty, Coates.