Christain Grindheim celebrates scoring (©INPHO/Brian Little)

REDS SLIP TO NARROW DEFEAT

Cliftonville suffered a one-goal defeat to FK Haugesund in their Europa League First Qualifying Round clash at Solitude.

It gives the Reds a challenge to overcome in the return next week in Norway if they are to progress but it is not an insurmountable obstacle to overcome following an impressive performance from Paddy McLaughlin's side.

Indeed, they might have stormed into the lead inside the opening minute when Joe Gormley fired over from a Garry Breen free-kick.

Gormley came close again on 12 minutes only to fire wide but, at the other end, Ibrahima Koné was denied only by Conor McDermott's goalline clearance.

But what proved to be the only goal of the game arrived three minutes from the break when former Norwegian international Christian Grindheim touched the ball past Richard Brush after meeting Mikkel Desler's cross from the right.

The sides traded chances in the second half with Niklas Sandberg producing a save from Brush while Levi Ives fired wide from distance.

Rory Donnelly then had an effort turned away by keeper Helge Sandvik before Haugesund were reduced to ten men when Torbjørn Kallevåg was dismissed following a challenge on McDermott on 79 minutes.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Breen, C. Curran, R. Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley, McMenamin, Gorman subs Dunne (not used), Harney (not used), A. Harkin (not used), R. Curran (replaced C. Curran 67), Foster (not used), Wilson (not used), Maguire (replaced Gorman 87)

FK Haugesund: Sandvik, Bergqvist, Tiedemann, Grindheim, Tronstad, Sandberg, Samuelsen, Kallevåg, Bruno Leite, Desler, Koné subs Gostomski (not used), Knudsen (replaced Samuelsen 82), Pedersen (not used), Velde (replaced Koné 33), Krygård (replaced Grindheim 46), Ikedi (not used), Ndayisenga (not used)

Tags:  Cliftonville