Cliftonville close in on league title

Published Saturday, 19 April 2014
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Cliftonville demonstrated their title credentials with a 5-0 victory over Glenavon on Saturday, as title rivals Linfield were held to a 1-1 draw by Portadown.

Cliftonville close in on league title
Cliftonville celebrate as Joe Gormley scores. (© Pacemaker)

The Reds went into the game just a point ahead of their cross-city rivals, but found themselves in front after just five minutes after some superb combination play between Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley, with Boyce perfectly threading a through-ball for his strike partner to blast home a club record 37th goal of the season.

Cliftonville had to wait until the second half to add to their tally, with Martin Donnelly firing a left-footed shot into the far corner in the 53rd minute to make it 2-0.

Defender Marc Smyth then punished some lacklustre Glenavon defending claiming a third goal after the Lurgan Blues had failed to deal with a corner.

A glancing header from Stephen Garrett made it 4-0 before Eamon Seydak teed up Donnelly for a close-range finish in stoppage time to complete the rout.

Meanwhile in the game at Windsor Park Linfield failed to keep pace with the defending league champions despite taking the lead against Portadown through Michael Carvil's close-range finish less than a minute into the second half.

However Darren Murray equalised for the Ports when he headed home after a mistake from Jonny Tuffey in the hosts' goal.

The results mean that Cliftonville have a three point advantage over Linfield with just two games left to play, and their superior goal difference means that the Reds can effectively clinch the league title with victory in their penultimate game away to Portadown on Tuesday night.

Elsewhere on Saturday Crusaders saw their hopes of claiming a European place suffer a blow after they were beaten 3-0 at Glentoran.

Curtis Allen netted the opener with a well-struck free kick, and john McGuigan added a second in the 69th minute before Crues skipper Colin Coates was sent off for attempting to strike Stephen Gordon.

Both sides were to end the game with ten men after Allen was sent off for kicking out at Declan Caddell, but Glentoran finished strongly with a goal from Danny McKee to seal a win that moves them ahead of Glenavon in the table.

Crusaders' defeat sees the gap between them and fourth-placed Portadown reduced to a single point.

At the other end of the table Warrenpoint Town failed to escape the promotion/relegation play-off spot after they were beaten 1-0 at home to fellow strugglers Coleraine.

Victory for Barry Gray's side would have seen them leapfrog the Bannsiders and move up to 10th in the table, but the decisive goal went the way of the visitors.

It was Gareth Tommins who found the net when he latched on to a through-ball from Michael Hegarty before beating Jonathan Parr in the Warrenpoint goal.

In the game at Stangmore Park Dungannon Swifts proved too strong Ards, with the Co Tyrone side claiming 2-0 victory over Niall Currie's men.

The opening goal came in the 74th minute when Stefan Lavery teed up Sean McCashin to tap in, and Swifts made sure of the points when Gary Liggett headed home Ryan Harpur's free kick.

Finally, Ballinamallard hauled themselves further away from the relegation places thanks to a goalless draw with Ballymena who remain in seventh position in the league table, four points ahead of Dungannon in eighth.

Saturday's results in full:

Section A

Cliftonville 5-0 Glenavon
Cliftonville: Gormley 5, Donnelly 53, 90+2, Smyth 65, Garrett 90.

Glentoran 3-0 Crusaders
Glentoran: Allen 6, McGuigan 69, McKee 83.

Linfield 1-1 Portadown
Linfield: Carvill 46.
Portadown: Murray 73.

Section B

Ballinamallard 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Dungannon Swifts 2-0 Ards
Dungannon Swifts: McCashin 74, Liggett 84.

Warrenpoint Town 0-1 Coleraine
Coleraine: Tommons 67.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Dixie in Belfast wrote (283 days ago):
Congratulations to Cliftonville champions 2 in a row just proves to Linfield that money doesn't buy success . It takes loyalty and not mercenaries just looking big wages Cliftonville are playing for the shirt . Well done reds keep it up .
Jim mcferran in Belfast wrote (284 days ago):
D jefferys has got the t shirt many times. T breslin last year and great chance this year come on ye reds
Mark in Belfast wrote (284 days ago):
Darzo, week in week out will do for me. Im a red thru and thru and ur a blue, but we hv soccer in common. I hope for many a year to come to be shouting about the reds a champions, but we are fans, adrian is a muppett.
Darzo in Co Down wrote (285 days ago):
Thanks mark :)! At the end of the day i am simply honest week in week out like! And not scared to admit that at this moment in time cliftonville are the better team than us but who no's wat will happen now a new manager is coming in! Super Linfield
Mark in Belfast wrote (285 days ago):
Darzo ur a true blue unlike adrian who is simply a moan. From a reds fan ! 99 red balloons !!!!
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While Crusaders may be bossing the Danske Bank Premiership, it was their North Belfast rivals Cliftonville who made the headlines again this weekend.
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