Cliftonville make it four from four with victory over Ards

Jude Winchester congratulates Daniel Hughes after he opened the scoring in Cliftonville’s 2-0 home win on Saturday against Ards. Picture by Pacemaker
Sean O'Neill

Danske Bank Irish Premiership Cliftonville 2 Ards 0

CLIFTONVILLE made it four wins from their last five league outings on Saturday, but the restless perfectionist in boss Gerard Lyttle wants more from his troops.

Daniel Hughes grabbed the first goal in the 2-0 home win against Ards after 31 minutes.

Levi Ives picked out Jude Winchester with a brilliant pass down the left wing, before the winger found the former Warrenpoint Town striker in the area. Hughes found the bottom corner of Aaron Hogg's net with a cool finish.

The win was wrapped up 17 minutes from the end when Jason McGuinness rose highest to head home a Ruairi Harkin corner.

The Reds have hit a bit of form, and if they had not, incredibly, lost a three goal lead against Crusaders a fortnight ago, could have been looking at entertaining Linfield tomorrow night with a chance of going second in the table.

Lyttle simply does not want the high standards of the club to slip.

"It's a win, we’ve scored two goals, created a lot of chances again and kept a clean sheet – so obviously there are a lot of positives," said the manager.

"[It is] just nit picking that we haven't played as well as we have been. We’ve raised the bar in terms of how we’re playing football in the last month.

"On Saturday there were wee spells of great football and great attacking football, and then there were wee spells of just switching off.

"Maybe we looked a wee bit tired or jaded – I don’t know, but we got through the game, we got the points, we kept a clean sheet and that’s all we can ask for at the minute."

Hughes has had a stop-start Cliftonville career so far, but there is no doubting the quality of the 24-year-old who moved to Solitude at the start of the year. The north Belfast side need a player who can score week-in, week-out if they are to challenge for league honours again, and Hughes could well be that man.

"I’m delighted for Daniel," declared Lyttle.

"One thing you’ll get from Daniel is honesty and hard work. Probably since we signed him – he hasn’t had a proper run of games through injuries and niggles and things like that.

"We’ve got him playing regularly now. I spoke to him about a month ago and just said that he has everything. The only thing he lacks is scoring goals and I need him in the box more often than not.

"And he’s obviously took that on board because he’s scoring goals now and I’m really happy for him because he’s a great lad.

"He’s quick and it’s not just his work rate – technically Daniel’s very good, he’s got great touch and he’ll size players up and take players on.

Tomorrow night's game should be a corker, and a win will see the Reds go third. Lyttle is in bullish mood about it.

"It’s all to play for," he insisted.

"As we showed against Crusaders two weeks ago - if we can do that to the champions, we can do it to anyone so we’ll be looking to go and try and be as positive as possible and try and win the game."


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