Champions Cliftonville on top after Mallards victory

Cliftonville's Joe Gormley celebrates his goal against Ballinamallard
Cliftonville's Joe Gormley celebrates his goal against Ballinamallard

Champions Cliftonville produced a first class show to coast to a 4-0 victory over Ballinamallard United.

It was a professional performance from the Reds with excellent movement off the ball and clinical finishing to return to the top of the Danske Bank Premier League.

However, manager Tommy Breslin admitted the scoreline may have flattered his side a little.

“It was comfortable, but doesn’t do Ballinamallard justice. The first 30 minutes I thought we played really well and scored two goals and then let them back into it and they could have had one back before half time,” he said.

“The third goal was the important one and we got the fourth and that made it look comfortable, but it is still a hard place to come to.

“The incentive today was to get back to the top of the league and with three wins and two draws it’s OK. Last week we threw away a 3-1 lead which could have given us the three points, but the week before we stole two points.

“We’re happy to be there, but we have a tough game on Tuesday night.”

Cliftonville took the lead from the penalty spot after just 14 minutes when captain George McMullan rifled home after David McDaid had enticed central defender Mark Stafford to tackle in the corner of the penalty box.

Ballinamallard had a great chance to get back into it when Raymond Foy won the ball and released Anthony Elding, who shot into the side netting.

It was 2-0 after 32 minutes when Chris Curran broke past Stafford on the corner of the Ballinamallard penalty box. He raced through to round keeper Fergal Murphy before slotting home.

Towards the end of the half the Ferney Park side got more into the game to create a number of chances through Campbell and Elding.

Cliftonville added another two goals before the final whistle. The first came on 70 minutes when McDaid latched onto a long ball. He got his head to the ball under pressure from the advancing keeper Murphy to flick on for Gormley to head home for number three.

Cliftonville scored their fourth when the lively McDaid latched onto another long ball to find himself in the clear before shooting into the top corner.

Ballinamallard manager Whitey Anderson was bitterly disappointed that his side had conceded three goals from balls over the top of the home defence.

“I am absolutely disgusted with them. I don’t know why we started to play a high line. The boys our there decided to do their own thing,” he said.

“I thought at the end of the first half we were the better side. We kept the ball well instead of trying to force it. In the second half I felt if we had got a goal we would have been back in it, but the third goal killed us.

“We were caught by two long balls over the top in the second half with no pressure on the ball. It was schoolboy errors,” he said.

“For me it wasn’t a 4-0 game.”