Saturday, 30 March 2019
Two second half goals helped Cliftonville defeat Glentoran at Solitude in the final game before the split.
Despite the final outcome it was the visitors who started better, duly moving in front as early as the sixth minute after Curtis Allen controlled the ball outside the box before finding Paul O'Neill who beat Richard Brush with a thumping header.
Unfortunately that didn't herald a first half full of chances. Indeed, it took until the 40th minute for either side to create another scoring opportunity and even then Joe Gormley scuffed that effort wide.
Glentoran might have doubled their advantage before the break, however, when Allen found John Herron but Brush was equal to the challenge on this occasion.
Cliftonville offered more in the second half with Niall Grace turning well from a Gormley flick but Elliott Morris did well to save while, not long after that, Levi Ives fired over from a good position.
The Reds levelled on 69 minutes through Rory Donnelly's close range finish after Chris Curran's cross was headed towards him at the far post.
Ryan Curran might have edged Paddy McLaughlin's men in front after that with a superb effort which produced an equally as good stop from Morris.
Allen, at the other end, will feel he could have done better than to send the ball wide a minute later before then sending an overhead kick too high moments after that.
But what proved to be the winner came right at the end when Donnelly's cross from the right was knocked down by Gormley for Ryan Curran to smash home from just outside the six-yard box.
Cliftonville: Brush, McGovern, Ives, Grace, Harney, C. Curran, R. Curran, R. Donnelly, A. Harkin, Gormley, Gorman subs Neeson (not used), Bagnall (replaced Gormley 90), McConnell (not used), Lavery (not used), Maguire (not used), A. Donnelly (replaced McGovern 90), Whiteway (not used)
Glentoran: Morris, Kane, Peers, C. Gallagher, Herron, Allen, McDaid, Kerr, O'Neill, Gwiazda, Glover subs Garrett (not used), McMahon (not used), Gordon (replaced Herron 73), Murray (replaced O'Neill 73), S. Gallagher (not used), Smith (not used), McLaughlin (not used)
Referee: Tony Clarke