Blues maintain hopes by beating Reds

Linfield's Paul Smyth celebrates scoring against Cliftonville at Solitude

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Irish Premiership : Cliftonville 0-2 Linfield

Linfield stay five points behind Irish Premiership leaders Crusaders after earning a 2-0 win over Cliftonville.

Jimmy Callacher put the Blues ahead with a close-range finish on 37 minutes after keeper Peter Burke had dived full length to reach a Mark Haughey header.

After Chris Curran missed a chance to level, Paul Smyth atoned for an earlier miss by doubling Linfield’s lead on 70.

Glenavon move into third spot after Gary Hamilton’s injury-time goal earned a 1-0 win over Ballinamallard United.

The Lurgan Blues move onto 59 points, two ahead of the fading fourth-placed Reds.

Crusaders’ 4-0 win at Carrick Rangers keeps Stephen Baxter’s side five points clear at the top and they also have a game in hand on the Blues.

Linfield end poor Premiership run against Reds

Linfield’s success at Solitude was the Blues’ first victory in 12 Premiership meetings against the Reds.

The Blues looked the sharper outfit in the first half with Reds defender Caoimhin Bonner having to clear a Matthew Clarke effort off the line and Mark Haughey also heading a gilt-edged Linfield chance wide.

Cliftonville did have a chance of their own as Jude Winchester fired wide after being set up by Levi Ives but Linfield took the lead on 37 as Callacher poked home after Burke had saved Haughey’s header following a Ross Gaynor free-kick.

The Reds did improve after the break with Callacher doing well to block a Curran effort and the former Ballinamallard man then missing a great chance to equalise after a rare moment of indecision in the Linfield defence.

But Linfield were continuing to look dangerous after after Smyth contrived to miss a glorious chance, he atoned by running straight through the Reds defence to fire past Burke.

Glenavon snatch last-gasp win over Mallards


Gary Hamilton scored Glenavon’s injury-time winner at Mourneview Park

Glenavon recovered from a lacklustre first half to earn a vital three points against Ballinamallard as player-manager Hamilton scored in the winner in the first minute of injury-time.

Ballinamallard’s came the closest to scoring in the first half as former Northern Ireland winger Ivan Sproule hit the base of a post with a lobbed effort.

While the visitors played with more purpose in the opening period, Glenavon did have a few promising moments with Mallards keeper Stefan McCusker saving an Andy Hall free-kick and Declan O’Brien also going close.

Glenavon improved after the break with Simon Kelly going close and Hall testing Mallards keeper Stefan McCusker before Hamilton flicked in the winner after connecting with a Hall free-kick.

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