BALLYMENA UNITED 0 CLIFTONVILLE 1
Joe Gormley’s early goal at The Showgrounds was enough to give defending Irish League champions Ctop spot in the Premiership on Saturday
Gormley lobbed United keeper Dwayne Nelson after beating the home defence to Conor Devlin’s long clearance.
Gormley missed a glaring opportunity just after the break when he fluffed what looked like a far-post trap-in.
Ballymena then had Aaron Stewart sent-off when his foul on Ciaran Caldwell brought him a second yellow card.
The win sends Cliftonville clear at the top, and their total of 12 points is actually won better than they had after six games last season.
They had started level on points with Ballymena, as well as Glentoran who crashed at home to Crusaders.
Ballymena, were never out of the contest but the 75th-minute dismissal of Stewart, which looked a bit harsh, took the momentum out of their attempts to find an equaliser.
United’s best chance fell to Ally Teggart, but he shot wide when well placed after Tony Kane’s shot was deflected into his path.