There were wins for each of the top 5 in the league this week but despair for Ballinamallard as the Ferney Park side continue to fall adrift at the bottom of the league.
(All kick offs Saturday 3pm unless stated otherwise)
Crusaders 2-0 Ballinamallard United, Friday 7.45pm
Crusaders almost took the lead straight from kick off as Declan Caddell’s effort in the box was knocked onto the post by a Mallard’s defender, it was a sign of the North Belfast side’s intent as they attacked the Ballinamallard goal with force throughout the game. Jordan Owens did put the ball in the back of the net in the first half but it was ruled out for offside. The Crues got their breakthrough in the second half as Matthew Snoddy flicked the ball home at the near post from a Billy Joe Burns cross. Snoddy grabbed his second in the final moments of the game as he fired well across Richard Brush in the Mallard’s goal to find the bottom corner. Crusaders now have 8 wins from 12 as they sit in 3rd place, their opponents Ballinamallard are now 4 points behind 11th place with only 4 points from 12 games.
Ballymena United 3-3 Warrenpoint Town
Cathair Friel gave the Sky Blues the lead after 4 minutes as he turned to volley home from 6 yards out. It was a lead that lasted merely 4 minutes as Lorcan Forde headed in from a corner. Point had the lead on 13 minutes when Conor McMenamin’s freekick from wide evaded everyone and found its way in at the far post. Ballymena were back on level terms shortly into the second half when Conor McCloskey found space behind the Warrenpoint defence and fired home. With 5 minutes remaining Warrenpoint put themselves back ahead as Conor McMenamin’s freekick was poked home by Lorcan Forde for his second of the day. However, Point couldn’t hold onto their lead as substitute Matthew Shevlin grabbed an equaliser at the death at his second attempt of trying. Ballymena climb above Dungannon to 7th place courtesy of their superior goal difference while Warrenpoint remain in 11th place but are one point further from the bottom of the table.
Carrick Rangers 0-2 Glenavon
Glenavon were made to wait until the stroke of half time to find their goalscoring touch. Sammy Clingan’s freekick from half way was struck home from a tight angle by Andy Hall. It wasn’t until late on in the second half again that Glenavon found their second, Bobby Burns brought down in the box and Sammy Clingan stepped up to double the Lurgan Blues’ lead. Glenavon remain in 2nd place but continue their pursuit of Coleraine as they sit 5 points behind. Carrick are 10th with only a point’s advantage over Warrenpoint below them and 5 points separating them from bottom club Ballinamallard.
Coleraine 3-0 Glentoran
Coleraine show no signs of letting up as they continue their incredible unbeaten run this season. Ian Parkhill gave the Bannsiders an early lead, taking advantage of some rather lax Glentoran defending. Just before the half hour Darren McCauley put Coleraine 2-0 ahead thanks to a near post header as Glentoran failed to deal with a sustained attack. Jamie McGonigle completed the scoring on 82 minutes thanks to a very effective pacy counter attack led by Josh Carson. Coleraine maintain their lead at the top of the table having only dropped 2 points all season, Glentoran drop to 6th with only 3 points from their previous 4 games.
Dungannon Swifts 0-4 Cliftonville
Rory Donnelly opened his scoring on 9 minutes as he beat the offside trap to curl the ball into the far corner with a calm finish. It was Donnelly again who double Cliftonville’s lead into the second half with a well taken header before he completed his hattrick following the award of a penalty for handball. Cliftonville were awarded another penalty for handball less than 10 minutes later, this time substitute Joe Gormley stepped up to dispatch the spot kick. A superb result for the Reds takes them up into 5th place as Dungannon fall one place to 8th behind Ballymena.
Linfield 2-0 Ards
It was summer signing Jordan Stewart who made the breakthrough after 35 minutes when he pounced on a loose ball in the box to fire into the roof of the Ards net. Linfield’s second came in the second half as another summer signing, Joshua Robinson, rose high from a corner to find the slightest gap in the Ards’ goal. Linfield bounced back well after their Monday night defeat to Crusaders and remain among the chasing pack in 4th, Ards are back in 9th place with only 3 wins from their 13 games so far this campaign.