Stalemate at Solitude
Thursday, 2 March 2017
THREE red cards, seven yellows - sounds like quite a game. Except it wasn't. It was anything but.
The opening 45 minutes in particular were hard to watch as both sides struggled to create anything of note.
The visitors looked marginally the more threatening, Cliftonville goalkeeper Jason Mooney reacting quickly to deny defender Gareth McConaghie following a Neil MCafferty corner and again denying Darren McAuley from distance soon after.
Eoin Bradley, making a welcome return to the starting line-up following several weeks out with broken ribs and a punctured lung, forced another save from the big 'keeper just before the break.
The only other incidents of note were a booking each for Cliftonville midfielder Paul Finnegan and Coleraine left-back Adam Mullan, innocuous at the time but decisions which were to have more serious repercussions later in the game.
Coleraine carried on where they left out on the restart and Bradley set up strike partner Jamie McGonigle for an early chance but the Dungiven youngster's low shot was kicked away by the Reds' keeper.
The game took a dramatic turn midway through the half when Finnegan was shown a second yellow card by over officious referee Arnold Hunter following a coming together with David Kee in midfield.
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