With the curtain having this month closed on Cliftonville’s 2022/23 season, cliftonvillefc.net today kicks off a new weekly mini-series reflecting on the good, the bad and the in-betweens of last term.
Every Monday between now and the new campaign getting under way, we’ll take a chronological look back on a month from the the term just finished – with a rewarding August taking centre stage today.
Having returned from their post-European break by beating Warrenpoint Town 6-1 at Solitude, the Reds kicked the new month off with two friendlies in as many days; Ballyclare Comrades being hit for five on the Friday evening before Ballymena United recorded a 2-0 success in Tony Kane’s Testimonial at The Showgrounds (above).
The new Danske Bank Premiership schedule kicked off seven days later and some unwanted history was made as Cliftonville suffered their first opening day defeat since 1998; Coleraine inflicting a 3-1 reverse on a day that saw Ryan Curran on the scoresheet for the visitors.
The Reds’ first home League game was barely seven seconds old by the time Ronan Hale acrobatically broke the deadlock thanks to a slick kick-off routine against a Carrick Rangers side that recovered to lead 2-1 at the break.
A Curran penalty and close-range conversion from substitute Joe Gormley (above) would, however, ensure a three point return and commence a winning streak that continued throughout the rest of the month.
Curran opened the scoring in a midweek trip to Ballymena, with Luke Turner (below) plundering the winner in the second-half ahead of a goalfest on home soil with Dungannon Swifts.
Trailing to a penalty, the Reds levelled through Ronan Hale before a deflected Chris Gallagher strike turned the tie on its head.
The visitors levelled matters early in the second-half but an almost instant own goal restored an advantage that Cliftonville extended when Chris Curran opened his account for the season to make it nine points from 12 ahead of September beginning with a tricky test at Portadown.
Cliftonville 5-0 Ballyclare Comrades
Ives, Doherty, Gormley , Casey
Ballymena United 2-0 Cliftonville
Coleraine 3-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville 3-2 Carrick Rangers
Ronan Hale, R Curran, Gormley
Ballymena United 1-2 Cliftonville
R Curran, Turner
Cliftonville 4-2 Dungannon Swifts
Ronan Hale, Gallagher, OG, C Curran