Lyttle happy as Reds step it up

Gerard Lyttle was thrilled with Cliftonville's response as his side stormed past Glenavon with a confident second-half display at Solitude.

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Cliftonville's Peter Burke in action during the game on October 29th 2016, Northern Ireland (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Kevin Scott / Presseye Cliftonville's Peter Burke in action during the game on October 29th 2016, Northern Ireland (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Though the scoreline flatters the hosts, they gave the Lurgan Blues a lesson in taking their chances with Jason McGuinness, Ruairi Harkin and Davy McDaid all netting after the interval.

“We asked the boys to step it up at half-time and that’s what they did,” said Lyttle.

“In the first-half, the pace of the game suited Glenavon and we weren’t doing things quickly enough. There wasn’t much between the teams but they probably looked the more likely to make something happen.

“We wanted to take the game to them more and the players did that. The first goal made the difference and we kicked on after that.”

Though Solitude spirits had been relatively high on the back of a winning streak yielded through encouraging performances, consecutive losses to Glentoran and the Blues meant Cliftonville entered the contest hoping a week-long wobble didn’t develop into a more long-term concern at the hands of a Glenavon side that had enjoyed significantly differing fortunes.

Skippered by Paddy McCourt, the Lurgan Blues almost fell behind on eight minutes when a Hughes attempt struck the base of the post before the home striker saw penalty appeals waved away by referee Arnold Hunter, who flashed a yellow card for simulation when Hughes fell under pressure from Kris Lindsay.

Though the visitors carved out the better of the chances – Mark Sykes and Paddy McCourt denied by Peter Burke – it was Cliftonville who took the lead when McGuinness’ towering header screeched into the top corner just before the hour. Harkin’s long-range blast doubled the advantage and, when Lindsay and goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey got themselves in a twist, McDaid pounced to wrap things up.