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Cliftonville 1-2 Glentoran

Cliftonville were left to rue a host of missed chances as Glentoran battled from behind to earn a Danske Bank Premiership victory at Solitude this evening.

Leading through a stunning Jamie McDonagh strike, the Reds shipped Jay Donnelly goals either side of the interval ahead of piling on the pressure for an equaliser that simply refused to come.

In an eye-catching start, Luke McNicholas was called into action to field a long-range Seanan Clucas effort ahead of Joe Gormley seeing penalty appeals waved away following a challenge by Paddy McClean.

It would not be long, however, before the deadlock was broken – and what a strike McDonagh produced, finding the top corner with a pearler from distance with just five minutes on the clock.

Soon later, Chris Gallagher dragged a left-footed attempt wide and McDonagh smashed a shot off target before seeing a fizzing effort turned behind by goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.

From the resulting corner, Ronan Doherty was denied by a block from Hrvoje Plum ahead of the Glens carving out their first opening when Ruaidhri Donnelly nodded wide from Robbie McDaid’s cross.

A quick free-kick from McDonagh called McCarey into action, with the visitors levelling matters soon later when Donnelly got the slightest of touches on Rhys Marshall’s delivery from the right.

Glentoran built on that momentum early in the second period and, after McNicholas had produced an outstanding save to claw an outrageous Sean Murray effort out, McClean then saw a thumping point-blank header repelled by the young keeper.

Within minutes, though, a Plum corner kick was converted by Donnelly to put the Glens in front – but Cliftonville’s response to that setback was impressive.

A flurry of quickfire efforts saw McDonagh kept out by both McCarey and Caolan Marron before Kris Lowe sent his follow-up into the McAlery Stand, with Jonny Addis nodding Levi Ives’ corner delivery into McCarey’s grasp.

Substitute Daniel Kearns screwed an attempt just past the post following a bout of pinball, Ives saw a blast deflected behind by Marron, with Lowe’s left-footed volley touched over the top by the keeper.

Glentoran should have sealed the points with an 89th minute breakaway that ended with McDaid squaring for Clucas, who lifted the ball over both McNicholas and the crossbar.

In injury-time, McCarey kept out Ives’ free-kick and a Lowe strike was deflected behind for a corner, with the subsequent delivery ending with a minor scramble and goal-line clearance as the Glens held on for the win.

Cliftonville: McNicholas, McDermott (Kearns, 59 mins), Ives, R Curran, McDonagh (O’Neill, 76 mins), Lowe, Addis, Doherty, Gormley, Turner, Gallagher (C Curran, 70 mins). Unused subs: McKenna, Harney, Donnelly, Coates.