County Antrim Shield Final: Bangor 0-1 Cliftonville

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Jude Winchester was Cliftonville's matchwinner against Bangor

A first-half goal from Jude Winchester proved enough for Cliftonville to beat Championship One leaders Bangor in the County Antrim Shield final at Solitude.

Winchester scored with a cool close-range finish from Jay Donnelly's right-wing cross in the 15th minute.

Joe Gormley then saw his right-foot shot well saved by Darren Gibbons.

After the break Andy Hall hit the inside of the post with a fierce low drive for Bangor while Jay Donnelly and Robert Bayly went close for the Reds.

Bangor went into the game aiming to win their first senior trophy for 20 years, having beaten Premiership sides Glentoran and Crusaders in earlier rounds of the competition.

County Antrim Shield facts
Cliftonville lie fourth in the County Antrim Shield all-time winners' list with 10 successes. Linfield head the list with 43 victories, then Glentoran with 27.The County Antrim Shield was extended to include 16 teams this season, having previously featured just eight clubs in recent years.
The history of the County Antrim Shield dates back to 1888-89, when Distillery beat YMCA 8-4 in the first final.Bangor are three-times winners of the Shield. They lifted the impressive prize in 1969-70, 1974-75 and 1988-89.

The Seasiders had to plan without injured top scorer Jordan Forsythe however, while Cliftonville were missing suspended pair Jaimie McGovern and David McDaid.

Winchester's composed finish through the goalkeeper's legs nudged Tommy Breslin's side ahead and Gormley almost added a second before half-time.

Winchester had another effort saved by Gibbons while Conor Devlin blocked Willie McBurney's shot with an instinctive save.

The impressive Hall almost brought the sides level, then Tomas Cosgrove and Jay Donnelly had attempts blocked as the hosts attempted to extend their lead.

Bayly fired just off-target, Andy Morrow had a shot deflected by Johnny Flynn into the hands of Devlin and Donnelly was denied by Gibbons, with Thomas Wray clearing the danger after the ball came back into play.

Previous six County Antrim Shield finals
YearWinnerRunner-upScore
2013-14LinfieldCrusaders4-1 on pens; 0-0 after extra-time
2012-13Ballymena UtdLinfield4-3 on pens; 1-1 after extra-time
2011-12CliftonvilleGlentoran2-1
2010-11GlentoranLinfield3-1
2009-10CrusadersLinfield3-2 after extra-time
2008-09CliftonvilleLinfield2-1

"We made hard work of it and the conditions were not the best but at least we have a trophy in the cabinet and we have something to show for the season already," said Breslin.

"Credit to Bangor who played some good football, but we're delighted to get the win."

Goalscorer Winchester modestly observed that he was "in the right place at the right time after a great cut-back from Jay Donnelly".

"We had a few other chances but the ball just wouldn't go in," he added.

Cliftonville will hope to add to their trophy tally when they face Ballymena United in the League Cup decider at Windsor Park on 24 January.

Cliftonville celebrate after winning the County Antrim Shield
Cliftonville celebrate after beating Bangor 1-0 in the County Antrim Shield final

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