Cliftonville win to cut Linfield's lead

Published Tuesday, 14 January 2014
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Linfield saw their lead cut to two points after a tough battle against Crusaders at Windsor Park which ended 1-1, while Cliftonville beat Ards.

Cliftonville win to cut Linfield's lead
Liam Boyce scored as Cliftonville beat Ards. (© Presseye)

A one-minute silence was held before the game in memory of Linfield trustee Billy Meikle who died suddenly while on holiday in Spain on Monday night.

Andy Smith almost gave the Crues a spectacular lead on three minutes with a superb volley from 25 yards out but Jonathan Tuffey did well to palm his shot over the bar.

At the other end Philip Lowry should have found the net when the ball fell into his path some ten yards out but he fired wide.

The leaders hit the front on 26 minutes and it came after Linfield were awarded a free kick when Ivan Sproule was brought down outside the box by Colin Coates. Michael Carvill curled a low shot round the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Crusaders were given a huge with seconds left in the first half when Jonathan Tuffey gifted them an equaliser. A Chris Morrow free kick slipped through his grasp and down onto the line and Jordan Owens was on hand to tap home.

Andy Waterworth had two great chances to put the Blues ahead again, he burst clear but on both occasions O'Neill denied him.

It was the turn of Crusaders to create the chances with Tuffey tipping over a firm drive by Owens and then Paul Heatley wasted a great chance when his angled volley flashed over the upright.

On 66 minutes Aaron Burns saw his glancing header from a Quinn corner drift inches wide as the points seemed to be there for the taking by both sides.

In the end they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

In a game full of drama at Mourneview Park Glentoran saw off 10-man Glenavon to win an exciting tussle 3-2.

After a cagey opening spell Glenavon created a decent chance as Gareth McKeown played in Andy McGrory but his cross was cleared for a corner. A goalmouth scramble followed from the corner but the Glens survived.

Glentoran's first direct effort on goal brought reward on 20 minutes when new signing Curtis Allen finished well in the bottom corner.

Glenavon's task got even harder when goalkeeper Andy Coleman was sent off for hand ball outside the box - Brian McCaul, signed from Linfield to score goals, was now trying to keep them out as he took over in goal.

The Lurgan Blues tried to get back into the game and Hogg did well to divert a cross from David Rainey and then gathered a dangerous cross from McGrory as Guy Bates was waiting for any slip.

The visitors made a positive start to the second half with Boyd breaking through but he lost his footing in the mud and as a result shot wide.

A brilliantly struck free kick by Kyle Neill brought Glenavon level on 59 minutes but that joy was short lived as Marcus Kane restored Glentoran's lead just a minute later. It got even worse for Glenavon when former Lurgan Blue Jay Magee made no mistake from close range.

Glenavon's new striker Tiarnan Mulvenna scored on his debut to put some life back into the home team hopes of salvaging something out of the game.

It was almost level when Bates lined up a shot but sadly for the home fans he was just too high with his shot. Hogg denied Mulvenna from grabbing a second near the end with a smart save which sealed the win for the visitors.

Cliftonville closed the gap on leaders Linfield to two points after a close encounter at Ards saw them come away with a 3-2 win.

Ross Arthurs fired Ards into a shock lead on three minutes but Cliftonville did not take long to get back on level with Joe Gormley charging down a clearance from the keeper and Liam Boyce applied the finish.

On 31 minutes the visitors took the lead when Gormley scored a rare goal with his head.

Those bright hopes Ards had early on seemed to disappear when Gormley scored his 30th goal of the season early in the second half. However hope was restored when James Knowles pulled a goal back and it was game on until Sean Cleary was sent off for the home side near the end and the Reds eased to the points.

Portadown just got the better of Ballinamallard at Shamrock Park with one goal deciding the issue.

After a scoreless first half this game finally came to life with the home side beginning to get on top.

Sean Mackle had a great chance but Mallards goalkeeper Alvin Rouse did well to tip his shot onto the bar and away. Neil McCafferty also missed a great chance for the Ports soon after blasting over from inside the box.

The pressure eventually told on 52 minutes when Emmett Friars headed home from a corner and that goal proved to be the winner.

Coleraine eased the pressure on manager Oran Kearney with an excellent performance to secure a 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Warrenpoint at The Showgrounds. The breakthrough came on 27 minutes when a Harkin free kick was headed past keeper Parr by Aaron Canning.

McDaid and McNeill both went close to increasing the lead and soon after Warrenpoint were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Parr brought down Joe McNeill.

Into the second half and Coleraine did win a spot kick and Eoin Bradley made no mistake to make it 2-0. Harkin missed another Coleraine penalty but Gary Browne finished Warrenpoint off when he made it 3-0 on 73 minutes.

Darren Boyce was the match winning hero for Ballymena as they came from behind to defeat Dungannon Swifts 3-2 at Stangmore Park.

The home side went close in the early stages when a cross from Jamie Tometly was headed over by McCullough. But the home fans did not have too long to wait for the opening goal and it was worth waiting for.

Tomelty struck a sweet free kick hard and low past keeper Yohann Lacroix.

Ballymena were back in the game on 20 minutes and it was an equaliser from an unlikely source as new signing fullback Jim Ervin scored from close range.

Things got even better for Glenn Ferguson's side when David Cushley set up Allen Jenkins and he fired United into the lead.

Gary Liggett made it 2-2 with a fine finish on 53 minutes and it was all to play for again.

Ballymena edged ahead again on 72 minutes thanks to Darren Boyce, his second goal in two games since joining United.

Final scores:

Ards 2-3 Cliftonville
Ards: Arthurs 3, Knowles 69.
Cliftonville: Boyce 7, Gormley 31, 59.

Coleraine 3-0 Warrenpoint
Coleraine: Canning 27, E Bradley 52, Browne 73.

Dungannon 2-3 Ballymena
Dungannon: Tomelty 7, Liggett 53.
Ballymena: Ervin 22, Jenkins 38, Boyce 72.

Glenavon 2-3 Glentoran
Glenavon: Neill 59, Mulvenna 79.
Glentoran: Allen 18, Kane 60, Magee 67.

Linfield 1-1 Crusaders
Linfield: Carvill 26.
Crusaders: Owens 45.

Portadown 1-0 Ballinmallard
Portadown: Friars 52.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
bartman in belfast wrote (374 days ago):
Davy in the shankill, no douting linfield have the history when it comes to league titles but its the here and now and with all due respect in my opinion cliftonville are the best team [time will tell] we,re back to last seasons title winning form and more importantly we dont fear the blues, not writing crues off yet but i think its a two horse race. Darzo my old mate lol see ya at solitude for the big one and lets see whose giving who a hammering U REDS
davy in Shankill wrote (374 days ago):
Robert in Belfast. No one funds you because your stadium was not up to scratch years ago when the I.F.A needed a ground. Remember, it was Linfield who built the stadium in the first place.The I.F.A came along because it was the best available. The contract was signed by the governing body themselves. We were not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Now, away and help your manager paint the fences at the oval with the rest of the volunteers you had to get pre season. whilst we roll in it....
Darzo in Co Down wrote (374 days ago):
@bartman Wise up haha BELFAST LINFIELD CHAMPIONS 2013/2014 yeoo and hope we give use a good hammering in feb haha
Robert in BELFAST wrote (374 days ago):
@Davy No one funds us we don't care !!
Larry boy in Belfast wrote (375 days ago):
Only 1 big winner cmon the reds..
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