Hale on target again in Cliftonville stalemate

Dec 1, 2021 | Archive

Photo: Sam Johnston

Report: Andrew Morrison

Larne remain fifth in the Danske Bank Premiership following a 1-1 draw with league leaders Cliftonville at Inver Park.

A Levi Ives free kick put the visitors in front midway through the first half, before a Ronan Hale equaliser in the second half as both sides shared the points.

After a tense opening ten minutes came the first dangerous attack of the game. The Inver Reds worked the ball out to the right wing where Tomas Cosgrove floated a cross over the top of visting goalkeeper Luke McNicholas who failed to collect it resulting in a goal line scramble. Unfortunately for Larne, forward Ronan Hale couldn’t get a shot off as a period of penalty box pinball followed before being cleared from danger.

Just moments later Graham Kelly came close after getting on the end of a Ben Doherty cross which once again came down the right flank. However, the full backs effort went just over the bar.

The opening goal of the game came with 25 minutes on the clock and went the way of the visitors. After winning a free-kick five yards outside the box Levi Ives opted to go for goal and found the top right corner.

Just two minutes later Larne almost equalised as a Mark Randall corner found Kofi Balmer at the penalty spot but his header failed to challenge McNicholas as it flew over the bar.

The Inver Reds continued to create the better chances throughout the half as and Graham Kelly once again came close. After finding himself in the centre forwards position a pass from Albert Watson played the number three through but his under pressure effort was held by the goalkeeper.

Half-time: Larne 0 Cliftonville 1

The home side came out after the break quickest and managed to grab an equalising goal after just seven minutes of the new half.

A Cliftonville goal-kick was intercepted at the halfway line before a brilliant run from Fuad Sule drove his side up the pitch before finding Ronan Hale. The forward took his shot early on the half volley and found the far bottom corner from the edge of the box.

As the half went on Larne continued to see most of the ball but struggled to create and significant chances. Instead the Cliftonville defence held firm as the only threat came from range.

After failing to get out of their own half for large periods of the second half, Kris Lowe’s run past three defenders got Cliftonville into a dangerous position before his shot was tipped wide for a corner.

With only added time to play there was a late penalty shout for Cliftonville. A loose ball in the box saw a race between Balmer and Lowe to the ball and a collision between the pair so them both go to ground. Ultimately referee Andrew Davey deemed it a fair challenge from Larne’s number two.

With no late chances the game came to a close meaning a second 1-1 draw in as many matches for the Inver Reds.

Full Time: Larne 1-1 Cliftonville

Larne: Argyrides, Balmer, Kelly, Watson, Sule (’90 Jarvis), Randall (’81 Mitchell), Hale, McDaid (’81 Lynch), Doherty (’67 Nasseri), Bolger, Cosgrove

Unused subs: Ferguson, Lusty, Greer

Cliftonville: McNicholas, Ives, C Curran (’86 McDermott), R Curran, McDonagh (’65 Doherty), Lowe, Addis, Gormley (’73 O’Neill), Turner, Gallagher, Kearns

Unused subs: Dunne, Harney, Casey, Coates

Referee: Andrew Davey

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