Reds hit eight in Ballymena rout
Cliftonville have moved seven points clear of the Danske Bank Premiership with an 8-0 demolition of Ballymena United on Saturday.
Saturday, 17 November 2012
This has been a fixture filled with goals in recent times - last year's encounter ended 7-3 - but few would have predicted quite such a dominant display from Tommy Breslin's side, particularly in light of the fact that the Sky Blues had been unbeaten at home in the league so far this season.
However, the stage was set as early as the fifth minute when Stephen Garrett sprung the Ballymena defence to slide in the opener.
It was 2-0 soon after thanks to a superb strike from George McMullan, and the visitors to the Ballymena Showgrounds made it 3-0 with just under half an hour gone when Mark Smith's through-ball released Liam Boyce to score.
Boyce turned provider just four minutes later when he put in James Knowles to give Tommy Breslin's side a 4-0 lead at half time.
It was more of the same in the second half as Cliftonville continued to dominate, with Joe Gormley firing in from all of 25 yards in the 50th minute before Boyce claimed his second with a close-range finish three minutes later.
Substitute Diarmuid O'Carroll netted the seventh and Garrett added his second of the game three minutes from time to complete a miserable afternoon for Glenn Ferguson's side.
In the game at Windsor Park, Linfield came from behind to salvage a draw in their game against struggling Glenavon.
Peter Thompson saw his second-half penalty saved by Andy Coleman before Ciaran Martyn put the visitors ahead in the 77th minute when Blues keeper Alan Blayney failed to deal with his shot on goal.
Glenavon then looked set to try to hang on to their lead, but the hosts restored parity a minute from time when Daryl Fordyce fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
David Jeffrey's side pressed for a winner in added time but it wasn't to be as they slipped to 14 points off the lead.
Crusaders leap-frogged Ballinamallard and moved into second place after a 2-0 win at home to Portadown.
Jordan Owens opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he headed in a Gary McCutcheon cross, with Timmy Adamson latching onto a Gareth McKeown pass to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute.
The afternoon got worse for Portadown as they lost Gary Breen to a second yellow card in the closing stages.
Elsewhere, Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Stangmore Park.
Josh Cahoon opened the scoring for the hosts in the 30th minute, before Bannsiders substitute Curtis Allen levelled matters with a neat turn-and-shot in the 66th minute.
Finally, Lisburn Distillery returned to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Glentoran.
Andy Waterworth was the man who did the damage for Eddie Patterson's side, going close on a couple of occasions before beating Whites keeper Lee Windrum with a neat lob in the 18th minute.
The striker added a second against his former club with a back post finish in the 28th minute to send Distillery to the bottom of the table on goal difference.
Danske Bank Premiership results:
Ballymena Utd 0 - 8 Cliftonville
Cliftonville: Garrett 5, 83, McMullan 15, Boyce 28, 53, Knowles 32, Gormley 50, O'Carroll 63
Crusaders 2 - 0 Portadown
Crusaders: Owens 7, Adamson 55
Dungannon Swifts 1 -1 Coleraine
Swifts: Cahoon 30
Coleraine: Allen 66
Linfield 1 - 1 Glenavon
Linfield: Fordyce 89
Glenavon: Martyn 77
Lisburn Distillery 0 - 2 Glentoran
Glentoran: Waterworth 17, 28