There were only three games played in the Danske Bank Premiership this weekend as Linfield and Crusaders were both involved in Scottish Challenge Cup action again. While most of the headlines were grabbed by the excitement of international football, six clubs played out another intriguing round of domestic league fixtures.
Ards 0-1 Glentoran
Glentoran were keen to bounce back after a poor showing in their live televised defeat to Crusaders. Meanwhile, Ards were looking to build on a 2-0 victory away to Ballinamallard last weekend. In the opening 30 seconds Gary Liggett missed a glorious chance from close range to give Ards the lead, straight from the resultant goal kick Glentoran played the very definition of route one football. A long kick from Elliott Morris was headed on into the path of Curtis Allen and the in-form striker took his chance perfectly with a well-executed lob over the on-rushing goalkeeper. Both sides created plenty of chance but the score finished 1-0 to the away side thanks to some fantastic saves from both ‘keepers. Booth teams ended the game with 10 men after Robbie McDaid picked up a needless second yellow card followed by a straight red for Jonny Frazer for a professional foul. The Glens are now 2 points behind Glenavon in 5th place, Ards remain in the bottom half of the table in 9th with 7 points from 10 games.
Cliftonville 2-0 Warrenpoint Town
Cliftonville made it three wins in a row as they put the game to bed by half time against a struggling Warrenpoint, with manager Barry Gray coming up against his old side! Jude Winchester grabbed the first goal after 13 minutes from a few feet when Rory Donnelly’s header was tipped onto the bar and fell at his feet for an easy finish. Chris Curran finished the scoring minutes before the half when he was played in by earlier goalscorer Winchester. Curran stayed composed and managed to get the vital touch to get the ball beyond Point goalkeeper Parr. The victory keeps Cliftonville in 6th place with 16 points, worryingly Warrenpoint remain just 3 points ahead of basement club Ballinamallard who now have a game in hand.
Dungannon Swifts 2-1 Ballymena United
Dungannon completed a swift second half come back over Ballymena after the Sky Blues had gone down to 10 men with 65 minutes played. Ballymena took the lead on 26 minutes when Leroy Millar’s freekick from the right side of the 18 yard box fooled everyone and found its way into the bottom corner. Ballymena had a further two great chances to extend their lead before half time but failed to convert. The game was turned on its head in the 65th minute when Willie Faulkner was given his marching orders for handball and a penalty awarded to Dungannon Swifts. Faulkner felt aggrieved at the decision and the replays did suggest that the dismissal may have been slightly harsh. The subsequent penalty was slotted home by Paul McElroy. Two minutes later the Swifts took the lead when Ryan Mayse pounced in the box to convert from 6 yards. This result extended Dungannon’s lead over Ballymena in the table with 4 points now separating the sides in 7th and 8th place respectively.
Dundee United 1-0 Linfield, Cove Rangers 0-3 Crusaders
Linfield lost out in the dying minutes of their Scottish Challenge Cup fixture but will be left ruing a number of missed chances throughout the game as they had plenty of opportunities to put themselves in front. Michael Carvill, Jamie Glackin and Declan Caddell treated Crusaders fans to a 3-0 away victory over their Highland League opponents. The Crues now progress to the Fourth Round of the competition.