CLIFTONVILLE made comfortable progression to the third round of the IRN-BRU League Cup after seeing off the challenge from Tobermore United 3-1 at Solitude last night.
Though Marc Smyth’s opener was cancelled out by Karl Steele before half-time, the Reds demonstrated patience in abundance before coasting to victory through a Stephen Garrett header and Joe Gormley double.
Home boss Tommy Breslin made a number of changes to the side which had drawn 1-1 with Glentoran little more than 48 hours previous but the contest’s opening exchanges were little to write home about with both Garrett and Darren Stuart coming closest with mere half-chances.
The deadlock was eventually broken four minutes before the break when Jody Lynch’s free-kick came back off the post and, in the ensuing scramble, Smyth kept a cool head to stroke home his first goal in a Cliftonville shirt.
Steele’s close-range leveller threatened the platform for a shock comeback but, despite labouring for a short while, the Reds moved through the gears to kill their Championship 1 opponents off in the second period.
First, Garrett nodded home after George McMullan had done superbly well to keep the danger alive when John Neill’s miscued clearance took Tomas Cosgrove’s cross away from goal.
Then, less than 60 seconds later, a confident finish from substitute Joe Gormley extended the advantage further before the same player wrapped things up with an ice-cool conversion in a crowded penalty area.
Cliftonville: Brown, R Scannell, Johnston, McMullan, Garrett, O’Carroll, Smyth, Lynch, Stuart, Cosgrove, McVeigh. Subs: Donnelly, Templeton (for McMullan, 68 mins), Gormley (for Stuart, 59 mins), O’Kane, Boyce (for O’Carroll, 64 mins).
Tobermore: Hassan, Forgrave, Millar, Steele, Neill, Winton, Mulgrew, Lockhart, McClements, Patton, Doherty. Subs: Heneghan (for Lockhart, 51 mins), Stewart (for Patton, 75 mins), Gardener (for Millar, 46 mins), Turner, McKenna.
Referee: David Malcolm (Bangor).