LINFIELD 1 CLIFTONVILLE 2
CAPTAIN George McMullan’s 69th-minute goal sealed a spirited win for Cliftonville at Windsor Park on Saturday.
The Reds were forced to come from behind to claim maximum points against champions Linfield.
Mark McAllister’s 62nd-minute opener was cancelled out by goals from Liam Boyce and skipper McMullan.
All three goals arrived in a pulsating second half that more than made up for a stagnant opening 45 minutes.
Linfield broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute with McAllister heading home Niall Quinn’s corner - the ball squeezing past Liam Boyce on the line.
The home side’s lead last merely two minutes.
A long punt forward saw Liam Boyce beat Alan Blayney in a race for the ball and the striker bravely headed over the advancing Blues keeper.
The Reds were in dreamland on 69 minutes when they forged ahead.
Joe Gormley threaded a ball through to Barry Holland and he crossed for McMullan to poke home from close range.
Boyce almost extended the lead soon after but the striker’s shot was parried by Blayney.
Blayney was called into action again in the 78th minute, the former Northern Ireland international tipped over Gormley’s venomous drive from the edge of the box.
McMullan was then afforded a free header eight yards out but it drifted over the bar.
The Blues could have claimed a share of the spoils in injury time, but Albert Watson couldn’t get his head to Quinn’s cross and William Murphy’s follow-up shot found the side netting.
LINFIELD: Blayney, Murphy, Carvill, Burns, Browne, Garrett, Mulgrew, Watson, McCaul, McAllister, Quinn.
Subs not used: Armstrong, Henderson, Curran, Fordyce, Ervin.
CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern, Scannell, Johnston, Holland, McMullan, Smyth, Gormley, Lynch, Cosgrove, Boyce.
Subs not used: Caldwell, Garrett, Donnelly, O’Carroll, Seydak.
Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)