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Paddy’s drawn down

As pleased as he was with the fighting spirit Cliftonville showed in salvaging a draw from last night’s Danske Bank Premiership clash with Coleraine, Paddy McLaughlin felt his players deserved more than a point for their efforts.

Behind when a long-range drive from Lyndon Kane found the net on four minutes, the Reds levelled through Ronan Hale on the stroke of half-time only for the Bannsiders to reclaim the initiative when Andy Scott finished off after a wayward pass had put the hosts under pressure.

Hale’s injury-time free-kick ensured a share of the spoils – and a fourth consecutive 2-2 draw with Coleraine at Solitude this season – with McLaughlin arguing that a draw was the least his team merited.

“Both sides go toe to toe and, fair play to both sets of players, they’re well matched up and it’s always a hell of a game against Coleraine,” he said.

“You get goals at both ends, chances at both ends and some great play the whole way through That’s what you get when you play Cliftonville and that’s what you get when you play Coleraine.

“Neither side wanted to settle for anything less than a win and both sides went for it. I think on the balance on play, our boys were superior throughout the game and when you look at the two goals against, it’s probably two individual errors that have cost us two goals. Outside of the two chances that we gave them, I don’t think I can remember too many others where you’re thinking they could have scored, whereas we had numerous chances in both halves.

“Our energy levels, desire and quality in our play was excellent. I can’t fault the players for any of that. We deserved to win the game but Coleraine were clinical with their chances in fairness to them, though they were a threat on the counter attack but I thought we managed them really well. On another day, we probably take a couple of the chances that we created in the second-half, and we even had ones in the first-half.

“Overall, we’re disappointed with the draw. I think we deserved to win. Anybody that was there, I’d be surprised if they said anything other than we deserved to win but we’ll take the point and move on. We’re still challenging for the European places, so there’s plenty to play for.”

Cliftonville were left frustrated by a couple of penalty shouts over the course of the game – particularly one that came just 30 seconds or so before the Bannsiders opened the scoring – and McLaughlin admitted he’s at a loss to explain some of the spot kick calls that have gone against the Reds this term.

“I think we had a couple of penalty appeals but, as we’ve seen over the course of the season, it takes there to be something blatantly badly obvious for us to get them,” he lamented.

“The fifty-fifty calls haven’t gone our way over the course of the season, so I’m not too surprised we didn’t get them here. We’ve had this conversation before about decisions we keep finding ourselves on the wrong end of, but it doesn’t change anything. There’s no point making too much of it because nobody cares, nothing happens. nothing changes and nobody does anything about it – you’re just told to get on with it, so we have to get on with it.”