BALLINAMALLARD UNITED 1 CLIFTONVILLE 1
Cliftonville will be bitterly disappointed they didn’t collect all three points from this fixture, but a poor day in front of goal meant that Ballinamallard collected their first point of the new season with a 1-1 draw. It was a quiet opening which the Reds dominated, but it really kicked off when Richard Clarke’s thunderbolt shot was handled by Jude Winchester and the referee pointed to the spot.
Ryan Curran stepped up to calmly slot home for his fourth of the season and his third penalty.
At the other end Martin Donnelly’s free kick brought the best out of keeper Brush before Breen’s long ball released Donnelly who unleashed a brilliant volley on the run, but again Brush made a superb stop at the top corner.
But Cliftonville drew level from the corner. The ball was driven over by Donnelly and defender Breen rose unchallenged at the back post to head powerfully home.
In the second half Cliftonville really piled on the pressure. New boy Aaron Canning cleared off the line from Martin Donnelly before Joe Gormley should have given his side the lead when he broke through on the right before hammering his shot wide of the mark.
It was Jay Donnelly who had another glorious chances as the Reds dominate. He rounded keeper Brush and shot towards the back post, but the ball came off the inside of the upright and back into the arms of Richard Brush.
Striker Gormley had two more great chances to win the game for Cliftonville, but the striker had an unusual off day.
The first he fired wide of the mark and the second a curling effort from the corner of the penalty box which found the net, but was ruled out for offside.
Cliftonville manager Barry Gray said he was disappointed his side didn’t come away with three points.
“I think our performance was much better today than it was on Tuesday night. We probably deserved to win the game, but we didn’t. I don’t think we can be too harsh on ourselves. We missed a couple of glorious opportunities late on and sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. We’ll just have to dust ourselves off and go again next week.
“You always know what you are going to get when you come here to Ferney Park. If you’re not working hard enough you’ll be punished for it.
“I think we’ve done well defensively, Structurely we did well to minimise the threat of Ballinamallard and I don’t remember too many clear cut opportunities from a defensive point of view.
“In the later stages of the game it opened up that wee bit for us in attack and if we take one of those chances it’s a different game.
Ballinamallard United: Brush, McConnell, Clarke, McGinty, Hutchinson (Burns 55), Curran, Martyn (McLaughlin 77), Leddy, McIlwaine, Smyth, Canning (Owens 65)
Subs: McLaughlin, Burns, Owens, Brennan, Crawford
Cliftonville: Long, Ives, Breen (Ramsey 45), Harney, Hughes (Curran 76), Donnelly, Bagnall, Winchester, J. Gormley, Donnelly, Cosgrove
Subs Neeson, Ramsey, Curran, Garrett, A Donnelly
Referee: Lee Tavinder