Irish Premiership: Good point for Dungannon Swifts but it should have been three

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Dungannon , UK - March 12, Pictured is Dungannon Swifts' Andrew Mitchell scoring in action during the game at Stangmore park on March 12, 2016  Dungannon, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)
Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Dungannon , UK - March 12, Pictured is Dungannon Swifts' Andrew Mitchell scoring in action during the game at Stangmore park on March 12, 2016 Dungannon, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Manager Rodney McAree acknowledged that Dungannon Swifts blew a great chance to claim a first win over Cliftonville for over eight years.

They fell just short of a long overdue win on a frustrating afternoon at Stangmore Park.

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye

Dungannon , UK - March 12, Pictured is Cliftonvilles' Darren Murray scores in action during the game at Stangmore park on March 12, 2016  Dungannon, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Picture - Kevin Scott / Presseye Dungannon , UK - March 12, Pictured is Cliftonvilles' Darren Murray scores in action during the game at Stangmore park on March 12, 2016 Dungannon, Northern Ireland ( Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Dungannon dominated the chances and hit the crossbar twice, but just couldn’t get the ball over the line for a winner.

And while Andrew Mitchell’s late equaliser which rescued a draw was celebrated keenly, McAree felt it could have been so much more.

“We’ve done extremely well, performed admirably and deserved to win the game,” he said. “Unfortunately we’ve come away with only a point. It’s good from our point of view that we’re disappointed that we’ve only got a point at home to Cliftonville.”

Dungannon twice came from behind to level, the second equaliser coming in the 87th minute. They then had three great chances to win it in stoppage time.

But Cliftonville, reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of David McDaid, held on to preserve their long unbeaten record in this fixture.

McAree added: “It is definitely two points dropped, in my opinion. We had a game plan and we stuck to it. We created chances, and it’s just disappointing that we haven’t quite done enough to get over the line.”

Dungannon had to come from behind when Darren Murray scored after 10 minutes. He wasn’t closed down quickly enough after receiving the ball inside the box, and directed a left-foot shot beyond the goalkeeper.

Otherwise the Swifts’ start had been encouraging, and they levelled in the 21st minute. Mitchell played a big part, drawing a foul on the left touchline. After Ryan Harpur took the free-kick, the striker was first to the ball and scored with a close-range header.

Mitchell should have made it 2-1 early in the second half after being played in by Cormac Burke, but his strike was brilliantly tipped over.

And the visitors capitalised on the let-off by retaking the lead. Murray beat the Swifts’ offside trap to run on to a through-ball from Marc Smyth before finishing coolly.

Dungannon continued to carry the greater threat. Ally Teggart missed the target from close range after meeting a cross from the impressive Burke.

They were handed a boost when Cliftonville had McDaid sent off for a rash tackle on David Armstrong. The challenge, right in front of the dugout, saw players from both sides square up to each other.

When calm was restored, Dungannon set about trying to get the equaliser.

And it arrived with three minutes remaining after Jamie Glackin’s corner caused a scramble in the box. The ball hit the bar, the goalkeeper and then a defender, before Mitchell hammered home.

In a chaotic finish, the striker almost completed his hat-trick, but his clever header came back off the crossbar. The ball dropped for sub Gary Liggett, who was thwarted at close range by Smyth. Liggett tried to chip the ball back in, but again the woodwork intervened.

Dungannon Swifts: Coleman, Burns, Hegarty, Armstrong, O’Rourke, Wilson, Harpur, Hazley (Glackin, 66), Teggart (Liggett, 79), Burke, Mitchell Subs not used: Addis, Fitzpatrick, McCaffrey

Cliftonville: Burke, McGovern, Flynn, Smyth, Ives, Catney, Winchester (J Donnelly, 66), Curran, M Donnelly (Garrett, 80), McDaid, Murray (Hughes, 87). Subs not used: Brennan, George

Referee:

Keith Kennedy, Lisburn