HONOURS EVEN IN NORTH BELFAST DERBY
Crusaders fought back to earn a vital derby point against Cliftonville in a dramatic encounter in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Despite the challenging conditions, a pulsating first half was served up at Seaview, and it the home side that opened the scoring on 26 minutes as Jordan Forsythe curled a superb free-kick past Gartside from the edge of the box, after Gallagher had brought down Gallagher.
Cliftonville kept battling and got their equaliser with 36 minutes gone, as Kris Lowe broke down the right flank and floated a cross in which Ryan Curran showed his instinct to bundle the ball over the line, despite the best attempts of goalkeeper Tuffey; the goal stood and the scores were level.
The Reds nearly went in ahead at the break, as Ronan Doherty broke free but his well-placed shot was heroically cleared off the line by Billy Joe Burns.
Curran doubled his tally for the evening from the penalty spot with just under 20 minutes remaining. Rory Hale was upended by Joshua Robinson, leaving referee Chris Morrison with no option but to point to the spot, as Ryan Curran stepped up and cooly dispatched for the visitors.
Crusaders bounced back on 80 minutes with another moment of brilliance, as Ross Clarke picked up the ball on the bye-line, and cut inside before rifling a superb long range drive, which nestled into the bottom corner to level the scores up once again.
Substitute Joe Gormley had a golden chance to win the game for Cliftonville when he fired wide in stoppage time when one-on-one with the goalkeeper from only six yards out.
Crusaders: Tuffey, Burns, Robinson, Weir, Lowry, Ebbe, Forsythe, Winchester, Larmour, Heatley, McKeown subs Murphy (not used), Hegarty (replaced Burns 81), Caddell (replaced Weir 71), Owens (replaced Ebbe 71), Thompson (not used), Clarke (replaced Winchester 46), Boyd (not used).
Cliftonville: Gartside, Gallagher, Rory Hale, R. Curran, Lowe, R. Doherty, Casey, Turner, Ronan Hale, Coates, Moore subs G. Doherty (not used) Addis (not used), C. Curran (not used), Parkhouse (replaced R. Curran 78), McDonagh (replaced Gallagher 86), Rocks (not used), Gormley (replaced Moore 86)