Irish Premiership: Cliftonville 1-1 Warrenpoint Town

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Cliftonville held at home by Warrenpoint

Cliftonville were unable to take full advantage of Premiership leaders Crusaders' defeat by Linfield as they were held to a draw by Warrenpoint.

The Reds paid for a lacklustre New Year's Day display as they didn't build on David McDaid's 43rd-minute goal.

Stephen Murray hit a deserved equaliser for bottom-placed Town on 67 minutes.

Warrenpoint came close to earning their first Premiership win since 5 September as Stephen Hughes then hit the crossbar and the lively Murray also went close.

With Daniel Hughes watching the Solitude contest after his recent move from Warrenpoint to Cliftonville, Jay Donnelly went close for the Reds on two occasions early on.

Warrenpoint keeper Jonathan Parr made a great pointblank save to deny Donnelly before the unmarked Cliftonville striker headed the resultant corner over the bar when it seemed easier to score.

But Warrenpoint had little difficulty in keeping the Reds at bay for the majority of the first half as Cliftonville struggled to create attacking openings.

Stephen Murray celebrates with Conor McDonald after hitting Warrenpoint's equaliser at Solitude
Warrenpoint goalscorer Stephen Murray was always a threat at Solitude

However, a fine run by Donnelly set up McDaid to score on 43 minutes as the youngster skipped down the wing before his cross was skilfully diverted to the net by the former Derry City striker.

The Reds continued to display scant urgency after the restart as Warrenpoint looked the more dangerous outfit with John McGuigan wasting a chance for the visitors when he attempted to pick a pass instead of firing direct for goal.

However, Murray did level on 67 as he rounded Conor Devlin to slot home after outpacing the home defence.

As Warrenpoint sensed their chance to clinch only their second league win of the season, impressive substitute Stephen Hughes rattled the crossbar with a lobbed effort after keeper Devlin had charged outside his box to head away a long ball.

Murray then brilliantly controlled a long ball to set another chance for himself but just as he appeared to pull the trigger, Reds defender Johnny Flynn got back to make a vital intervention.

Cliftonville produced some late huff and puff but the bottom club held on for the draw that they thoroughly deserved.

Linfield leapfrog the Reds into second place in the table after beating the champions at Windsor Park as Cliftonville now stand seven points off the pace.

What they said

Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle: "We lacked the energy today that we had against Crusaders on Boxing Day and that wee bit of bite and maybe desire as well.

"The other team outworked us. We were flat today.

"Fair play to Warrenpoint. They deserved their point."

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