Ballinamallard United 1-1 Cliftonville
Both sides came into this game on the back of a midweek defeat. The Mallards were victims of a 6-2 hammering from Glenavon while Cliftonville went down 2-0 to Coleraine. It was the home side who opened the scoring when Cliftonville’s Jamie Harney was penalised for a handball, Ryan Curran stepped up and fired his spot kick beyond Brett Long for his fourth goal of the season. The Reds upped their game and it was only a matter of time before they equalised, defender Garry Breen rising to head home Martin Donnelly’s cross. Cliftonville continued to surge forward in the second half with Martin Donnelly, Joe Gormely and Jay Donnelly all missing big chances for a winner. In the dying minutes Joe Gormley finally managed to get the ball over the line but it was ruled out for offside.
Ballymena United 1-6 Glenavon
Ballymena knew the hard task they would face as a free-scoring Glenavon came to town but surprisingly the game remained goalless at half time! Minutes into the second half Adam Foley started the scoring for Glenavon with a fine finish from inside the box. James Singleton poked in the second on 66 minutes after Ballymena failed to deal with an Andy Hall corner. Glenavon then grabbed another two in quick succession as Sammy Clingan scored from the penalty spot and Andy Hall had his second of the game from a 25-yard free-kick. Ballymena pulled one back through a penalty of their home, scored by Tony Kane – who else? The joy was short lived as Bobby Burns restored Glenavon’s four goal advantage with a fierce shot from outside the box. Andrew Mitchell rounded off the scoring as headed in as the game entered its final moments.
Crusaders 1-2 Coleraine
Crusaders came into this one fresh from a 5-0 victory over Warrenpoint on Tuesday, so convincing where they that much of the talk pre-game was not of IF they would win but rather the margin of victory! Coleraine showed the same intensity and energy that allowed them to impress so much last season and forced the victory over the Crues. Coleraine’s opener came from a close-range Eoin Bradley header after the ball had been prodded about the box from a corner. The Bannsiders doubled their lead just before the break again coming from a corner, this time Stephen O’Donnell was the scorer. With half an hour to go the away side were reduced to ten men after David Ogilby picked up his second booking of the game, Crusaders sought to press forward from this point but struggled to find a breakthrough. Finally, a goal came the home team’s way in the final minutes, converted by substitute Jordan Forsythe, but it was too late for any sort of comeback.
Dungannon Swifts 0-4 Linfield
Yet again Linfield wrapped this match up early, having taken themselves a three-goal cushion by half time. The Blues were impressive once more under David Healy as they maintained their 100% win record this season with a clean sheet for Roy Carroll in each of their three matches. Linfield’s opener was courtesy of a Paul Smyth header at the back post, the cross from Chris Casement was delivered with pinpoint accuracy. Niall Quinn doubled their lead with a superb striker from 25 yards before an unfortunate own goal from Seanan Clucas on the brink of half time gave Linfield their third. Linfield appeared to cruise through the second half as the Swifts looked powerless, the final goal of the game came late in the second half when midfielder Andrew Mitchell slotted home a penalty after David Armstrong had fouled Mark Stafford.
Glentoran 1-1 Carrick Rangers
Glentoran were in high spirits following an impressive display against Dungannon midweek but they knew things wouldn’t be a breeze as Carrick Rangers goalkeeper Harry Doherty has been rightly earning the plaudits in these early games with some impressive displays. It was indeed the Glens who took the lead in the first half when John McGuigan laid the ball off for an on-rushing Ross Redman who made his way into the box and struck low across the goalkeeper, Doherty got a hand to it but couldn’t stop the ball from crossing the line. Carrick had their equaliser just 40 seconds into the second half, Mark Edgar crossed and Lee Chapman rose in the area unmarked to head beyond Elliott Morris. Neither side could find a winner in the end but Rangers will no doubt be pleased with a very hard-earned point at The Oval.
Warrenpoint Town 1-0 Ards
Warrenpoint needed to find a reaction after their 5-0 humbling at the hands of Crusaders midweek and that came in the form of a victory over an Ards side who are without a point after three matches. The deadlock remained at the break with neither side really looking the more likely to shift the momentum in the tie. It was striker Darren Murray who did tip the game in Point’s favour as he knocked home his third goal of the season. Matthew Tipton’s side picking up their first points of the season after their promotion from the Championship.