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Danske Bank Premiership

Cliftonville 2 Ards 0

Despite our chances, a goal in each half from Daniel Hughes and Jason McGuinness condemned us to defeat at Solitude.

On the opening day of the season the teams played out a 2-2 draw and the rematch was also an even encounter for the most part. Ards had good chances of our own, but it was the more clinical finishing from the home side that shone through to give the Reds all three points.

Early on Cliftonville came exceptionally close to scoring when a neat ball inside from the left by Jay Donnelly put in Levi Ives and his low flicked shot had the beating of the Ards back line but, unfortunately for him, also the far post.

For Ards a couple of chances came and went in the early stages of the game. The closest of these being a shot from fit-again Jamie Douglas, who bent an effort just over the bar from around the edge of the box.

Not long after a free kick from Ruairi Harkin went wide of the Ards goal, a run in-field by David McAllister at the other end saw him demand a fine near post save from Cliftonville goalkeeper Peter Burke. From the corner that followed Craig McMillen put the ball onto the head of Michael Ruddy but Burke again got behind the ball well to push the shot over the crossbar.

The game’s opening goal came on 31 minutes from a fairly simple Cliftonville move. Ives’ long ball out of defence found the run of Jude Winchester on the left and he sent a pass inside for Daniel Hughes, who took a touch prior to dispatching a low shot by Aaron Hogg.

The same Cliftonville player would miss a great chance to double his side’s lead when a cross from Donnelly flashed right by the forward just yards from the Ards goal line.

A fairly flat opening to the second half saw significantly less chances created. Ards would be given a reminder of why we haven’t managed a win at Solitude in over a decade however when Cliftonville took a 2-0 lead with 73 minutes gone. A corner from the right, swung out by Harkin found his skipper Jason McGuinness racing in at the back post, and as Hogg came and failed to collect, the towering defender powered home a header.

Ards’ best chance of reducing the deficit came about following an error from Burke. The keeper failed to collect a long punt up the field, with the ball breaking loose to Joe McKinney but he would be denied by a crucial goal line block from McGuinness that would keep his side’s two goal lead in tact.

A third for Cliftonville certainly looked on the cards late on when Winchester sent Hughes clear through the middle and he raced into the Ards box, only to be denied by a close range block from Hogg at the striker’s feet.

15th October 2016


18 Aaron Hogg (GK), 38 Fra Brennan, 25 Emmet Friars (capt.), 5 Johnny Taylor, 3 Michael Ruddy, 7 Craig McMillen, 6 David McCullough, 11 David McAllister, 10 Joe McKinney, 19 Guillaume Keke, 40 Jamie Douglas


8 Ross Arthurs (for Douglas 50), 16 Gareth Tommons (for McAllister 88), 17 Carl McComb (for Keke 57), 21 Callum Byers, 22 Jamie Rea


Tim Marshall


Ruddy (14), Taylor (28)



Match highlights (BBC Sport NI)