Glens and Coleraine maintain unbeaten start as Cliftonville’s struggles continue

NIFL Premiership

In the wake of Friday’s international four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures took place on Saturday 2nd September 2017. Crusaders and Linfield took part in the expanded Scottish Challenge Cup taking on Motherwell U20 and Spartans FC respectively.

Ballymena United 1-0 Cliftonville

Ballymena picked up their first league victory of the season over a Cliftonville side who has stuttered since their opening day win over Ards. The game remained scoreless until the 76th minute of play when Ballymena found the opener, Tony Kane hit the shot initially but the goal was eventually credited to Emmet Friars. A surprisingly bare looking score line between two sides with exciting attacking line ups. There was much fanfare over the return of Joe Gormley and Rory Donnelly but Reds fans will now be beginning to worry if they don’t start to find form very soon.

Coleraine 4-2 Glenavon

The Bannsiders continued their 100% win record after five matches with a comprehensive victory over travelling side Glenavon. It was Coleraine who opened the scoring after 13 minutes when Darren McCauley was presented with an opportunity from the penalty spot. McCauley’s cheeky chip evaded the reach of Jonathan Tuffey to give the home side the lead. 11 minutes later Glenavon found an equaliser when in-form midfielder Adam Foley guided his header into the back of the net from an Andy Hall cross. On 29 minutes Coleraine regained their lead after Tuffey failed to deal with a long free kick and Josh Carson was presented with an easy finish. Coleraine doubled their lead six minutes before the break as McCauley doubled his tally for the day with a curling effort from 16 yards. Glenavon brought themselves back into the game on 49 minutes when Andrew Mitchell applied the finish but the game was put beyond doubt three minutes later with another peach of a strike, this time it was Ciaron Harkin from 18 yards – off the crossbar and in.

Dungannon Swifts 2-0 Ballinamallard United

The Mallards’ draw against Cliftonville remains their solitary point after five rounds of league fixtures. A goal in either half was enough to secure a second consecutive league victory for Dungannon. The Swifts opened the scoring minutes before the half when Ryan Harpur finished from six yards out after Peter McMahon’s deflected shot fell straight to him. With 20 minutes to go Ryan Mayse doubled the home team’s advantage with a curled shot from outside the box, another impressive performance for the young midfielder who returned to Dungannon this season.

Glentoran 2-0 Warrenpoint Town

Glentoran continued their own unbeaten start to the season over ten-man Warrenpoint. It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance at The Oval as a scoreless first half was gladly allowed to float off into the ether. The Glens came out firing in the second half when Curtis Allen’s inch perfect freekick found the top corner of the City End goal. Five minutes later Glentoran had their second when new boy Robbie McDaid scored his third goal in three appearances after some lax defending from The Point. To add insult to injury Darren Murray received his marching orders for a second yellow for dissent – an action that manager Matthew Tipton was clearly very displeased with.

Spartans 1-2 Linfield, Crusaders 3-2 Motherwell U20

Both Belfast clubs gave good accounts for themselves in their respective Scottish Challenge Cup matches. A Louis Rooney penalty and a Stephen Lowry finish was enough to give the Blues the victory. Meanwhile at Seaview Crusaders took the lead through Philip Lowry before coming back from 2-1 down thanks to a late Billy Joe Burns brace.

About the Author

Matt McKay
Glentoran and Northern Ireland fan.