Cliftonville’s run of Danske Bank Premiership draws continued in tonight’s stalemate with Crusaders at Seaview.
Things could, however, have been so much better for the Reds had they been able to get their final pass right, with a host of promising attacks falling by the wayside just when the breakthrough seemed imminent.
Joe Gormley had a first-half effort disallowed for offside and Richard Brush’s superb stop from Chris Hegarty kept the hosts at bay and, while good value for their point, Cliftonville will wonder what might have been when they reflect on a plethora of openings that had promised so much only for the killer ball to let them down.
Gormley had been the first player of the night to threaten when he unleashed a vicious half-volley that sailed wide of the mark and, following that controversial offside call, the Reds were grateful to Brush for stops to thwart both Hegarty and then Paul McElroy.
The visitors were repeatedly frustrated that their final ball let them down so much, with their best opening coming when Conor McDermott did superbly to skip beyond Michael Ruddy only to underhit his attempted pass across the face of goal.
It was much the same after the break with Gormley, Conor McMenamin and Michael McCrudden each doing well in build-up play before their deliveries into the area failed to meet their targets before Jordan Owens sent a header against the outside of the post at the other end.
Jamie Harney’s inch-perfect pass then set Gormley through on goal but, after taking a fantastic first touch under pressure from two defenders, he miscued his left footed effort just wide of the mark.
Though Cliftonville were more than worth the point they emerged with, they very nearly departed Seaview with nothing to show for their efforts when Hegarty’s late header dropped just wide from Paul Heatley’s free-kick delivery.
Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C Curran (Rocks, 80 mins), R Curran, McCrudden (Maguire, 89 mins), Doherty, Gormley, McMenamin, Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, Foster, Bagnall, Casey, McCurry.