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It’s a Bridge too far for Reds

Regular readers of our Matchday Magazine will know all the facts and figures behind each new week at Cliftonville Football Club, while our Twitter followers are regaled with daily delves into the archives – and today provides yet another significant anniversary.

For it was on March 30, 1936 that the Reds faced Chelsea in a friendly at Stamford Bridge.

Staged as a benefit match for Blues duo George Barbour and Tommy Law, a goal from Peter Buchanan and a double courtesy of former Glentoran and Linfield striker Joe Bambrick helped the Londoners to a 3-0 success on a day which contemporary reports note Cliftonville were “outclassed”.

Even so, it took an hour’s play before the scoring was opened; Bill Barraclough providing the cross from which Buchanan beat Reds keeper Fred McCurry.

“The Irish team had many anxious moments in the early stages,” reads one account.

“But as soon as they realised that Chelsea were not a terrible proposal, they enjoyed a fair share of the play.”

Bambrick – the Belfast man who had signed from Linfield for £3,000 just over three months earlier – would add a double from two further Barraclough assists against a Reds side which finished ninth in that season’s 14-team Irish League table, 10 points clear of bottom side Ards but some 20 behind Champions Belfast Celtic.