Cliftonville 2-0 Coleraine
A quickfire brace from Ryan Curran saw Cliftonville get the better of Coleraine in today’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter at Solitude.
Having been denied time and again by visiting goalkeeper Gareth Deane throughout a first-half in which the Reds impressed, the breakthrough came shortly after the interval when Curran beat Deane to a Kris Lowe delivery before doubling Cliftonville’s lead with a well-placed effort soon later.
Both teams hit the woodwork as the chances kept coming but Curran’s two-goal contribution proved enough to secure full points.
The Reds almost made the perfect start to the afternoon when, straight from kick-off, an opportunity was fashioned for Jamie McDonagh to head goalward but Deane was able to comfortably gather.
Coleraine’s keeper was called into more impressive action on 12 minutes when he got down to turn a McDonagh drive behind before the pair’s dual continued with a long-range blast that Deane was at full stretch to keep out.
After Josh Carson had driven an effort across the face of goal and wide at the other end, an eye-catching passing move almost yielded the breakthrough for Cliftonville; Daniel Kearns’ cross being touched into Ronan Dohery’s path by Lowe, with an acrobatic McDonagh strike again kept out by Deane.
Doherty was next to try his luck only to see his right-footed curler whistle wide before a McDonagh free-kick delivery almost ended with Stephen Lowry heading into his own net.
The first-half ended with a Rory Hale shot being blocked and Cricky Gallagher’s follow-up being smothered by the keeper, but just three minutes of the second period had elapsed before the deadlock was broken.
It all started with Jonny Addis walking the ball out of defence and, when his forward pass was perfectly controlled by McDonagh, he sprayed the ball wide for Lowe to deliver a first-time cross for Curran to stab in.
Virtually straight from the re-start, Jamie Glackin sent in a ball which Conor McKendry was just unable to get on the end of at the back post but it wasn’t long before the Reds had doubled their advantage. Curran took control and touched the ball towards McDonagh, whose pass saw Doherty take possession inside the area and, when he delivered a low cross, McDonagh was there to nudge the ball in Curran’s direction and he made no mistake.
Deane saved with his legs to stop Curran completing his hat-trick following a pass from Joe Gormley, who was himself next to be kept at bay by the keeper.
The Bannsiders almost halved the deficit when Glackin’s delivery was turned against his own post by Luke Turner before McDonagh’s chip came back off the crossbar at the other end.
Gormley was twice unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet in the closing minutes. Having first dodged away from Stephen O’Donnell, his attempt to skip past Deane saw him knock the ball a little too far ahead of himself before a Chris Curran pass sent the striker in behind but his effort was kept out by the keeper in what proved the final act of an entertaining 90 minutes.
Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, Hale (Gormley, 53 mins), R Curran, McDonagh (O’Neill, 88 mins), Lowe, Addis, Doherty, Turner, Gallagher, Kearns (C Curran, 71 mins). Unused subs: McKenna, McDermott, Donnelly, Coates.