A Joe Gormley hat-trick helped Cliftonville overcome a brave Warrenpoint Town side 4-2 at Stangmore Park to keep up their 10 per cent league record so far this season.
Warrenpoint took a sensational lead in the seventh minutes when Stephen Moan fed Stephen Hughes down the right hand side and the striker lashed in a fantastic low drive across a statue-esque Conor Devlin and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
However, the Red eventually settled and equalised just past the midway point of the half when Gormley beat the offside trap to slide the ball past Town keeper Jonny Parr to make it 1-1.
There were chances at either in during the remainder of the first half but both keepers produced excellent displays to keep the score as they were before the Premiership champions went in front four minutes into the second half. Diarmuid O’Carroll’s piledriver was excellently beaten out by Parr but only to Ryan Catney who finished from 18 yards.
A lively Warrenpoint side got back on level terms a minute after the hour when Referee Mark Courtney adjudged Tomas Cosgrove to have taken down Stephen McCabe in area and McCabe stepped up to convert the resultant penalty.
But it was ‘Joe the Goal’ who was the hero for Tommy Breslin’s side as he slammed home from a quickly taken free-kick despite the best efforts of Parr to make it three wins out of the three for the reigning title holders. Gormley then sealed his hat-trick and all three points with Cliftonville’s fourth in injury time.
Warrenpoint Town: J Parr, Moan, M Hughes, Boyle, Cowan, Devlin, McCabe (Grant 64), S Parr, Bagnall, D Hughes (Johnston 76), S Hughes
Subs not used: Kearns, Smith, McGrath
Cliftonville: Devlin, McGovern, Johnston (McNeill H-T), Garrett, O’Carroll (Donnelly 68), Seydak (R Scannell 82), Catney, Gormley, Curran, Cosgrove, McVeigh
Subs not used: Smyth, Boyce
Referee: Mark Courtney (Bangor)