Jim Magilton applauded his players’ creativity despite Cliftonville’s dominant display against Larne failing to yield maximum points.
Ben Wilson stroked the Reds in front with a delightful curling effort 10 minutes before half-time, only for the visitors to level when Lee Bonis converted at the second attempt after seeing his penalty saved by Nathan Gartside.
The second period was virtually all one-way traffic as Cliftonville laid siege to the Larne goal but found keeper Rohan Ferguson in alert form time and again, with notable saves from Wilson and Sam Ashford – whose debut the Manager described as “brilliant” – denying the hosts a winning response to their midweek reverse at the hands of Linfield.
“I thought the first-half was probably even-stevens, but in the second-half I thought we were on the front foot, I thought we were very impressive at times,” said Magilton.
“We created a lot more chances than we did on Tuesday night, which is great and very pleasing, and we’ve finished the month on a positive note.
“All credit goes to the players. It’s very difficult when a new Manager and new staff come in and you’re trying to apply principles and you’re trying to talk to them, but they’re a great bunch of players, a very talented bunch of players and they’ve gone toe to toe with Linfield on Tuesday and the current Champions on Saturday and I thought we were excellent.”
Magilton revealed his players’ frustration at not being able to find a winner, while the boss reserved words of praise for the luckless Gartside over the spot kick.
“What a save – what a save from the penalty,” he added.
“It was a fantastic save and then, of course, it’s landed to Lee Bonis and he’s not going to miss from there.
“We’ll take our point, we would have loved three, and there’s disappointment in the changing room.
“There was disappointment on Tuesday night because I think we left a lot out there – we didn’t create enough, we didn’t work their goalkeeper enough. I think against Larne, we were far better.”