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Safe space

Paddy McLaughlin says Cliftonville benefited from adding some adventure to their play in yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership victory over Ballymena United.

The Manager felt his side were guilty of playing “safe” football in a first-half that saw goalkeeper Luke McNicholas make eye-catching stops to prevent both Kenny Kane and Leroy Millar from putting the Sky Blues in front, but was pleased to see a change in mindset rewarded when Ryan Curran scrambled home the only goal of the game midway through the second period.

“It was hard fought,” said McLaughlin.

“We had to grind it out a bit just to stay in the game. Ballymena were better than us for long parts of the first-half and big Luke has pulled off a couple of good saves when called upon.

“We were glad to get in at half-time and reset ourselves and, in the second-half, I thought we were brilliant. We moved the ball a lot quicker, got bodies forward and created chances – none of which we’d done in the first-half.

“I think our game had been very safe. There were a lot of safe passes and we didn’t commit too much forward and that’s not like us at all. When we got back to what we do best in the second-half, that was the difference and it turned the game in our favour.”