William Faulkner and Ryan Catney contest a header (©INPHO/Matt Mackey)
Saturday, 22 September 2018
Cliftonville left it late to claim all three points from Ballymena United's visit to Solitude.
The visitors moved in front as early as the third minute. A defensive mix up between Garry Breen and keeper Richard Brush allowed Ryan Mayse in to slot home into an empty net despite the best efforts of Jamie Harney to clear.
However, the Reds levelled three minutes later, after Conor Quigley fouled Ryan Curran in the area and from the resultant spot-kick Joe Gormley stepped up to send Ross Glendinning the wrong way.
That was how it stayed until six minutes before the break when Chris Curran edged Barry Gray's side in front for the first time. He picked the ball up just inside the Ballymena half and skipped past a number of challenges before calming slotting into the bottom corner.
Cliftonville might have had another early in the second half only for Ryan Curran to turn Conor McMenamin's cross onto an upright.
Ballymena levelled midway through the second half after Mayse crossed from the right for Quigley to rise highest to head home at the back post despite Cliftonville protests that the ball had gone out of play.
But the winner came in the closing minutes courtesy of Jay Donnelly's cushioned header past Glendinning at the back post after Stephen Garrett had delivered the telling cross.
Cliftonville: Brush, McGovern, Ives, Breen, Harney, C. Curran, R. Curran, McDonald, Catney, Gormley, J. Donnelly subs Neeson (not used), Garrett (replaced R. Curran 77), McConnell (not used), Lavery (not used), Maguire (not used), McMenamin (replaced Harney 46), A. Donnelly (not used)
Ballymena United: Ro. Glendinning, Quigley, Addis, Mayse, Friel, Knowles, Faulkner, Balmer, Winchester, Ervin, Re. Glendinning subs McDermott (not used), Whiteside (not used), McGrory (replaced Friel 77), Lecky (not used), Millar (replaced Knowles 66), McMurray (replaced Faulkner 60), Farrelly (not used)
Referee: Jamie Robinson
|Jonathan McMurray||90 +3||60|