IRISH LEAGUE: Davy McDaid goal gives new Cliftonville era winning start

Cliftonvilles' George McMullan and Glentoran's Jonathan Smith
Cliftonvilles' George McMullan and Glentoran's Jonathan Smith

CLIFTONVILLE 1 GLENTORAN 0

Davy McDaid’s 83rd minute header ensured the post-Tommy Breslin era began on a victorious note as stand-in Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle savoured a narrow victory over 10-man Glentoran at Solitude.

Lyttle made just two changes to the side hammered 6-1 by Ballymena United last time out; goalkeeper Conor Devlin making his first Premiership appearance since January in place of the suspended Peter Burke, while Jay Donnelly dropped to the bench to make room for namesake Martin in the hosts’ starting XI.

The Glens – unbeaten in four previous meetings with the north Belfast side – named young Jonathan Smith in their line-up, while Aaron Hogg retained his place between the sticks despite long-serving custodian Elliott Morris returning to availability following a combination of suspension and injury.

Davy McDaid saw an attempt charged down by Willie Garrett on 10 minutes, while the visitors’ best chance of a first-half breakthrough came when Marcus Kane’s cross was left by Reds midfielder James Knowles, forcing Devlin into a reflex stop.

At the other end, Caoimhin Bonner had a header nodded off the line by David Scullion before Hogg made himself big to block a fierce Stephen Garrett drive.

Half-time sub Conor McMenamin saw two attempts repelled by Devlin before Marcus Kane’s 71st minute dismissal set up a home onslaught which was eventually rewarded when McDaid got on the end of Eamonn Seydak’s cross to nod home and secure victory for the Reds.

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Bonner, Flynn, Curran, McMullan, McDaid, Garrett, M Donnelly, Seydak, Catney. Subs: Knowles (McMullan, 20 mins), Brennan, C Murray (McDaid, 88 mins), M Murray (Curran, 57 mins), J Donnelly.

GLENTORAN: Hogg, Garrett, Kane, Holland, Magee, Scullion, Allen, McCaffrey, McAlorum, Gordon, Smith. Subs: Morris, Birney, Addis (McCaffrey, 75 mins), McMenamin (Scullion, 46 mins), McCullough (Smith, 75 mins).

REFEREE: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)