CLIFTONVILLE 5 INSTITUTE 1
Joe Gormley rattled home a treble as Cliftonville climbed up to third in the Danske Bank Premiership with a routing of Institute at Solitude.
Donnellys Martin and Jay netted either side of Gormley’s seven-minute hat-trick to help the Reds claim a timely triumph in the race for Europe.
Home boss Tommy Breslin made five changes to the side which lost to Glenavon last time out, with Robert Bayly, Eamonn Seydak, Marc Smyth, Ryan Catney and Johnny McMurray slotting into a team entrusted with the task of getting the hosts’ continental ambitions back on track.
Stute’s hopes of welcoming Darren McFadden back to the side following injury were scuppered by a midweek training setback, however Cormac Burke was given the nod to assume a starting role and it was the visitors who carved out the brighter early openings with Michael McCrudden nodding wide and Burke failing to capitalise on a miscue from goalkeeper Peter Cherrie.
Less than a minute after that miss, the ball was in the net as the other end as Martin Donnelly broke the deadlock with his team’s first shot of the day.
If Institute could count themselves hard done by to be behind, their mood worsened just past the half-hour when Gormley thundered home a delightful strike from a narrow angle to make it 2-0.
Straight from the re-start, the Reds reclaimed possession, worked their way forward and commenced a neat pattern which ended with Gormley claiming his second goal inside 60 seconds.
The striker – who claimed the matchball when the sides last met – completed yet another treble on 38 minutes when referee Christopher Lautier pointed to the spot after Johnny McMurray had been felled by Stute keeper Martin Gallagher; Gormley stepping up to score and banish memories of his penalty miss in that loss to the Lurgan Blues a fortnight earlier.
Jay Donnelly got in on the scoring act with a 52nd minute header and, though Stute’s tally was minimised by a series of fine saves from Peter Cherrie, they did at least have a Dean Curry consolation to show for their efforts.
CLIFTONVILLE: Cherrie, Bayly, M Donnelly, Seydak, Smyth, Catney, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, Bonner, McMurray. Subs: McGovern, Scannell, McDaid (McMurray, 58 mins), Knowles (Bayly, 80 mins), McCarron (Gormley, 68 mins).
INSTITUTE: Gallagher, D Curry, Scoltock, McLaughlin, Crown, Walsh, McManus, McCrudden, S Curry, Hume, Burke. Subs: Young (Crown, 64 mins), McKeever (McLaughlin, 70 mins), Doherty, McIntyre, O’Donnell (Scoltock, 46 mins).
REFEREE: Christopher Lautier (Pieta, Malta)