Wonder goal to rescue for Swifts
Rodney McAree was able to draw some comfort as a late goal saw Dungannon Swifts halt a dismal losing sequence against Cliftonville, writes Adrian Rutherford.
After ten successive losses to the North Belfast side – including three heavy defeats in the league and cup last season, a dramatic equaliser from Stephen O’Neill earned a valuable point.
The first home match of the 2012/13 campaign had been a largely forgettable affair until O’Neill’s sublime strike, his first since signing for the Tyrone club.
He scored with a chipped effort from 30 yards to cancel out an earlier own-goal by Adam McMinn.
McAree, appointed as joint head coach this season, believed a point was a fair result.
“I don’t know whether we did enough to win it, but I certainly didn’t feel we deserved to lose the game,” he said afterwards.
“I was disappointed with the goal we conceded but these are still early days and we’ll try and iron out the mistakes as we proceed.
“But the equaliser was some strike and I think Stephen deserved it because he was a real handful all afternoon.”
With so many changes over the summer – ten players have come in and another six have departed – McAree believes it will take time for the side to gel.
“We can play better, but it is going to take a bit of time for us to come together.
“It is only the second game of the season but we’ve started off with two draws from our opening two games and I would have taken that.”
Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin was frustrated not to hold on for the victory.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t finish the game off because we had chances,” he said. “I thought we deserved three points, we’re only getting one, but that’s football.”
The visitors shaded a lacklustre first half, with an early effort from Martin Donnelly flashing across the face of Swifts’ goal.
Later, a dipping effort by George McMullan from distance dropped wide of the target.
At the other end, a cross from Michael McKerr was cleared to Ryan Harpur on the edge of the box, but his snapshot flew just over.
The best chance, however, came near the end of the half.
Donnelly’s free-kick led to confusion in the home defence. The ball dropped to McMullan but he rattled the crossbar from close range.
It was a massive let-off, but Swifts’ luck did not hold.
They went behind in the 58th minute after a poor free-kick allowed Cliftonville to counter. Boyce surged forward and cut inside, with his strike taking a crucial deflection off McMinn.
It came somewhat against the run of play, with Dungannon showing more promise in the second half. They continued to look for an opening, boosted by the introduction of Chris Lavery.
O’Neill headed wide after a cross from Cameron Grieve, although they needed a superb stop from Curran to prevent Boyce securing the points for the visitors.
But, with just seven minutes remaining, Swifts drew level in spectacular style.
A long kick-out from Curran was cleared only to O’Neill, who unleashed a dipping volley from distance which flashed into the visitors’ net. - and that probably a fair result.
Swifts: Curran, E Friars, Brennan, McMinn, Grieve, Hazley, Harpur (Hutchinson, 56), S Lavery (S Friars, 66), Topley (C Lavery, 66), McKerr, S O’Neill Subs not used: Murphy, Fitzpatrick
Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, Cosgrove (Garrett, 59), B Holland, McMullan, Donnelly (Caldwell, 59), O’Carroll (Gormley, 59), Seydak, Smyth, Catney, Boyce Subs not used: Lynch, Stuart
Referee: Raymond Hetherington, Dungannon
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Dungannon
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North