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Cliftonville Football and Athletic Club vs Connah's Quay Nomads
Saturday 25th June 2016 | 2:30pm
Solitude, Belfast | Attendance: 122
The Nomads lost out to Belfast based Cliftonville on Saturday afternoon by one goal to nil. A Daniel Hughes goal in the 32nd minute was enough to secure victory for the home side at Solitude stadium.
Although it was a non-competitive fixture, the game was a historic one for The Nomads as it was the first time the club’s senior team had played overseas. Both sides were aiming to warm up for their Europa League first qualifying round ties, which take place on Thursday June 30.
Cliftonville were preparing to face Luxembourg’s FC Differdange 03, whilst The Nomads will to face Stabæk Fotball. In the light of this, both teams started strong line ups with The Nomads including a host of new signings such as Short, Wilde and Kearney.
The Nomads launched an attack in the first passage of the game, but this was dealt with easily by Cliftonville’s new goalkeeper Jason Mooney. In the ninth minute, Nathan Woolfe sent a 40 yard free kick into the home side’s area, where Ian Kearney just missed a header attempt on goal.
Cliftonville began to increase their pressure on The Nomads’ goalmouth, which nearly saw the opening goal in the 24th minute when the Belfast outfit rattled John Rushton’s crossbar from a corner.
In the 32nd minute, a Cliftonville cross took two defelctions before Daniel Hughes slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal. This was a deserved lead for Cliftonville, who maintained their lead with a controlled performance to the half time whistle.
At the start of the second half, Lewis Short continued an impressive individual performance when he sent a wicked cross into the Cliftonville box which the keeper did well to deal with.
Then came one of The Nomads’ best chances, when from a throw in the ball fell to George Horan who sent it wide from a good position just seven yards from goal.
The Nomads showed more attacking flare in the second half, with another shot from Woolfe going just over the crossbar.
Cliftonville responded to The Nomads’ offensive play with a free kick from 25 yards that forced Rushton to dive low to his right, saving well and conceding a corner which was cleared by George Horan.
Despite the friendly nature of the game, tempers flared at various instances over the game as the players disputed challenges both between each other and to the referee.
As the game drew to a close, Cliftonville once again took control of the game and successfully defended their clean sheet in a friendly where The Nomads had played some good attacking football in the second half and maintained a solid defensive policy for the majority of the 90 minutes.
The Nomads now look forward to one of the most historic games in the club’s history on Thursday 30 June when they face Stabæk Fotball in the Europa League first qualifying round (first leg). The game will be held at Rhyl Football Club with a kick off time of 7:15pm.
Match report by Will Catterall