Alan O'Sullivan shields the ball from Jay Donnelly (©INPHO/Philip Magowan)
Saturday, 20 October 2018
Two goals inside the opening half-an-hour teed Cliftonville up for victory over Warrenpoint Town at Solitude.
After an even opening the Reds moved in front on 20 minutes when Chris Curran delivered a corner for Garry Breen to head past Aaron McCarey.
Warrenpoint might have levelled soon after when Philip Donnelly found Emmett Hughes at the back post but his effort was fired into the side netting.
Cliftonville doubled their lead on the half-hour, however, through Levi Ives with a well executed free-kick over the wall into the top corner to give McCarey no chance.
The visitors came close to levelling on 51 minutes through a Fra McCaffrey glancing header from Stephen Moan's pinpoint cross
Jay Donnelly looked to extend Cliftonville's advantage after evading the challenge of a couple of defenders before testing McCarey with a ferocious drive while, for the visitors, Ciaran O'Connor got past Jaimie McGovern only to lift the ball over the bar.
Warrenpoint did pull a goal back with four minutes remaining when Mark Griffin tucked home a fine finish past Richard Brush but, just moments later, Jay Donnelly restored Cliftonville's two-goal cushion from the rebound after his initial effort from Joe Gormley's cross had come back off an upright.
Cliftonville: Brush, McGovern, Ives, Breen, C. Curran, R. Donnelly, Catney, Gormley, J. Donnelly, McMenamin, McNulty subs Neeson (not used), R. Curran (not used), Garrett (replaced McMenamin 83), McConnell (not used), Lavery (not used), Maguire (replaced R. Donnelly 88), A. Donnelly (not used)
Warrenpoint Town: McCarey, Hughes, Moan, Griffin, McGrandles, O'Sullivan, McCaffrey, Watters, O'Connor, Wallace, Donnelly subs Kelly (replaced Watters 56), J. Lynch (not used), M. Lynch (not used), Scannell (replaced Donnelly 56), Norton (replaced Moan 67), Halfpenny (not used), Turker (not used)
Referee: Tony Clarke