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Cool runnings

Paddy McLaughlin says that cool heads at half-time were key to Cliftonville rescuing last night’s League Cup tie with Newry City.

Trailing 2-0 at the interval thanks to Brian Healy’s audacious effort from virtually the halfway line and an inch-perfect Donal Scullion flick, the Reds roared back to level through Joe Gormley’s quickfire double ahead of Ronan Hale securing semi-final progress – an outcome the Manager felt was justified over the course of the contest.

“We were 2-0 down and I’m not really sure how,” reflected McLaughlin.

“We’d played some good football, moved the ball really quickly and had three or four decent chances in the first-half. Their keeper’s pulled off a couple of saves and we’ve probably missed opportunities in front of goal.

“Newry’s two goals have come out of absolutely nowhere. There was no real threat for either of them or no build-up of attacks. They were two good finishes from the Newry lads but we were quite relaxed and calm at half-time. I wasn’t in there banging doors and kicking tables. I knew if we kept playing the way we’d been playing, we would create more chances.”

Outlining the importance of reducing the arrears as quickly as possible, McLaughlin was pleased to see Gormley pull one back 10 minutes into the second period before levelling matters just 60 seconds later before supplying the assist from which Hale completed the turnaround.

“We had to be more clinical in front of goal and we had to have more quality in front of goal and we showed that in the second-half,” he added.

“It was vital that we scored the next goal because if Newry had scored it, the game was over but getting an early one to make it 2-1 was the trigger for us to go and dominate the second-half and attack at every opportunity.

“Fair play to the boys, they stuck to the plan and stuck to the belief in themselves and those around them, and they got their rewards in the end. They were two freak goals to put us behind but overall, I think our general play fully deserved the win.”