A full round of fixtures sees some teams confirm their early season showings as we reach mid September and a gap forms between the top five and the rest.
Glenavon 3-1 Cliftonville
Cliftonville’ s awkward start to the season continued in County Armagh where they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat to Glenavon. Winger Andy Hall scored one and set up the other two goals. He first set up Andy Mitchell who finished a low ball into the box in the eighth minute. He then completed a cross from Bobby Burns six minutes into the second half for 2-0, and finally moved the game beyond Cliftonville providing a pass for Marc Griffin to get the all important third goal.
Cliftonville who were fielding a very offensive unit did engineer a well worked goal as a consolation through Joe Gormley but they are in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the table right now. To add to their woe Garry Breen was sent off for a second yellow late in the game.
Coleraine 3-0 Carrick Rangers
Coleraine continued their 100% record into their seventh game with a solid 3-0 defeat of Carrick Rangers at Ballycastle Road. Once again Darren McAuley continued his purple patch with two goals, one being a penalty after Denver Gage had barged over Jamie McGonigle. Big centre back David Ogilby had opened the scoring after thirty minutes with a right foot shot from the edge of the box. To complete a sorry day for Carrick Gavin Taggart was sent off for a tackle on Harkin in the second half. Coleraine remain three points clear from Linfield and face a trip to the Oval next Saturday against Glentoran.
Dungannon Swifts 2-1 Warrenpoint Town
Dungannon acquired a big win for themselves with a hard earned three points against Warrenpoint Town in a 2-1 win at Stangmore Park. Several chances had been created before a clever move involving Ryan Mayse and Liam McMenamin saw Ryan Harpur finish it off to take the lead. Five minutes later and just before half – time Lorcan Forde grabbed an equaliser. A draw seemed likely until Chris Hegarty up from the back touched home a right wing cross in the seventy – fifth minute to seal the points. The win takes Dungannon up into sixth position.
Linfield 4-0 Ballinamallard United
It was the Jordan Stewart show at Windsor Park as he grabbed a hat – trick in a 4-0 win against the men from Fermanagh. Having been left out of the side in the midweek defeat by Crusaders he was determined to show the manager it was a mistake as he put the Blues 1-0 up after a clever pass by Aaron Burns. Once again goalkeeper Richard Brush was keeping his side in the match and it wasn’t until the hour mark that Stewart got his second putting away a cross by Casement. Burns again was the supply line as the little striker got his third after a through ball down the middle. Eight minutes from time centre back Mark Haughey added yet another header this season for the fourth. Ryan Curran came closest for the Erne men with a shot beaten away by Carroll. The win puts Linfield back into second place.
Crusaders 0-0 Ards
A 0-0 draw was probably not what many expected from this fixture but Ards worked hard and well for this point. Goalkeeper Aaron Hogg tipped a dipping shot from Heatley onto the post and Carville had a goal disallowed for hand ball. Johnny Frazer drew a good save from Brian Jensen though the offside flag had gone up. In the second half Hogg again dealt acrobatically with a Jordan Owens’ header but Ards held out for a share of the points. Crusaders will have been disappointed not to kick on from their defeat of Linfield and are third in the table two points behind Linfield.
Ballymena United 1-3 Glentoran
A match in which goals were expected and also a test for Glentoran after their first defeat of the season last week at Linfield. It was also a possible indicator as to how things could materialise in the league with the East Belfast side hoping to climb above teams like Ballymena who were ahead of them in the table last season. A free kick in the twenty – eighth minute was not cleanly dealt with by Ballymena leaving midfielder and captain Marcus Kane to open his account for the season with a header. However it was Elliott Morris who was perhaps the busier ‘keeper and Ballymena did hit the bar twice. Curtis Allen headed his fifth goal of season from a McGuigan cross early in the second half for the Glens’ second. This was followed in a minute by a reply from Cathair Friel after a goalmouth scramble. The game and points were to finish in East Belfast after a McGuigan free kick deceived Brennan to enable the game to finish 3-1 to Glentoran.