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Bang tidy

Though tonight’s game represents the 224th fixture between Cliftonville and Bangor, it’s just the 12th time the sides have met in the County Antrim Shield.

The most recent of those encounters came in last October’s quarter-final when, trailing 2-0 at home against the in-form Premier Intermediate League sides, the Reds produced a strong finish to the game as goals from Daniel Kearns and Aaron Donnelly restored parity ahead of a double from substitute Joe Gormley completing a 4-2 success.

That victory tipped the overall Shield balance in Cliftonville’s favour, with six wins compared to the Seasiders’ five – a statistic that had been enhanced when the Reds overcame Bangor in the 2015 Final at Solitude, where an early Jude Winchester goal settled the issue.

While tonight’s encounter is the first time the sides have faced off at Clandeboye Park since New Year’s Day 2009, the teams’ most recent meeting came just six weeks ago, when Ryley D’Sena’s own goal, a double from Ronan Hale and a well-taken Stephen McGuinness strike earned Cliftonville a pre-season friendly win.

Since then, Lee Feeney’s side – who, of course, include Reds loanee Seanna Foster among their squad – have enjoyed a perfect start to their Premier Intermediate League campaign, with Lisburn Distillery, Limavady United and Dollingstown all overcome without the concession of any goals.

In the opening round of the Irish Cup, meanwhile, the Clandeboye outfit overcame Queen’s University 2-0 and put eight without reply past Greenisland in the Steel & Sons Cup so, as was the case ahead of last season’s meeting with Cliftonville, they approach the contest in upbeat mood against a Reds side which has won its last four Danske Bank Premiership outings.

Bangor v Cliftonville
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