IRISH LEAGUE: Lyttle backs Burke after '˜world-class' saves

Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle heaped praise on Peter Burke after a mixed evening for the goalkeeper at Mourneview Park.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 6:09 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:03 pm
Cliftonville's Peter Burke in action at Mourneview Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Presseye)

Burke was at fault for Glenavon’s opening goal after his attempt to deal with a backpass teed up Guy Bates to score.

However, top notch saves either side of the break from Greg Moorhouse and Mark Patton earned the Reds a share of the spoils in the 2-2 draw.

“You have to applaud Peter,” said Lyttle. “He pulled off two world-class saves to keep us in it. He’s a young keeper and they are prone to a mistake or two. His head could have gone down but he made those great saves so in a way, well done to him.

“His feet are actually one of his strengths. He has good distribution but he started a bit nervy for some reason.

“He clawed himself back into it and he did really well to stop Glenavon from scoring on a couple of occasions.

“At 2-0 down you’re thinking it’s going to be one of those nights. We conceded two bad goals. Peter had put his hands up. It was a lack of concentration.

“Then the second goal, nobody picked up the marking, it was soft as well.

“I’ve got to applaud our character to get ourselves in a decent position to win the game.

“It could have gone either way. It was one of those open games. Glenavon are a good team and this is a hard place to come. Big Bates is very difficult to play against and they have players running off.”

Glenavon coach Niall Donnelly, meanwhile, was delighted with the work of the man who took advantage of Burke’s early error as Guy Bates but in a typically bustling performance up front.

“He was brilliant,” reflected Donnelly. “We’ve been trying to get it in to his feed so he can hold onto it, link up play, let midfielders come in and get it out to them to get balls into the box.

“He gave Jay (McGuinness) a hard time but Greg (Moorhouse) was great as well. The two of them worked very well together and really close together. That’s what we’ve been working on all week. Guy deserves his man of the match.

“We go into Ballymena with a bit of confidence now and if we perform like we did against Cliftonville, they’ll do well to stop us.”

Midway through the second half, the home support felt Cliftonville captain McGuinness had caught Moorhouse on the face off the ball.

Donnelly said: “Jay’s an experienced centre-half. He’s been around the block and he knows what he’s doing there. Referees will have to have a look at that again but he has just pushed him away.

“I don’t know whether it’s a red card - it’s definitely a yellow - but we didn’t get (the red) and we have to move on.

“It’s a bit frustrating. In the second half I thought we were the better side. We created a few good chances around the box and it just didn’t fall for us.”