Cliftonville go top after beating Linfield

Linfield goal keeper Jonny Tuffey and Cliftonville's Joe Gormley
Linfield goal keeper Jonny Tuffey and Cliftonville's Joe Gormley


Cliftonville eased to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership with a rousing 3-1 victory over Linfield on Saturday.

Two goals from Liam Boyce either side of a Joe Gormley header sealed this massive win for the champions at Windsor Park.

It was Cliftonville’s fourth league win over Linfield this season, and sees them move one point clear at the top with just four games remaining.

Boyce broke the deadlock in the 47th minute before Gormley doubled the lead in the 68th minute.

Michael Gault reduced the arrears with a rasping shot in the 74th minute, but Boyce wrapped up the with a third Reds goal six minutes from time.

A goalless first half was dominated by the visitors who couldn’t translate their possession into tangible reward.

Boyce went close with two efforts and Marty Donnelly lofted a chip onto the roof of the net.

At the other end Jimmy Callacher headed wide from Jamie Mulgrew’s corner.

The Reds were rewarded for their endeavour two minutes after the restart, with talisman Boyce on target.

Chris Curran picked up possession on the edge of the box, and when he threaded a through ball to Boyce on the left, the striker took a touch before slotting the ball past Jonny Tuffey and into the far corner of the net.

It was 2-0 ion 68 minutes when Gormley raced onto Curran’s through ball.

The striker’s first effort was blocked by Tuffey, his second shot rebounded off the underside of the bar before Gormley finally headed home at the third attempt.

It came after Linfield were denied a penalty after appealing for handball inside the box by Curran.

Linfield were back in the game six minutes later through skipper Gault.

Michael Carvill forged down the left before crossing into the middle, and when the ball rebounded to the edge of the box Gault rifled home into the top corner.

It was 3-1 in the 84th minute with Boyce bagging his second of the afternoon, the striker turning in the box before dispatching a low strike into the bottom corner.

LINFIELD: Tuffey, Gault, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth, BJ Burns, A. Burns, M. Clarke (Carvill 69), Garrett (R. Clarke 57), Mulgrew, McAllister (Tipton 73).

Subs not used: McVey, Thompson.

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell, Johnston, Donnelly (Garrett 79), Seydak, Smyth, Catney, Gormley (O’Carroll 83), Curran (Caldwell 88), Boyce.

Subs not used: Winchester, Murray.

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)