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Full Time

Irish League Round-Up: Crusaders edge Cliftonville in North Belfast derby and Linfield hold 100% record

Cliftonville 2-0 Crusaders; Linfield 1-0 Ballymena United; Glenavon 2-2 Glentoran; Ards 0-1 Dungannon Swifts; Carrick Rangers 2-0 Ballinamallard United; Coleraine 2-1 Warrenpoint Town

By Gareth Hanna

Crusaders saw out a narrow win over Cliftonville in the North Belfast derby on Saturday afternoon while Linfield just about held on to their 100% record.

By the time the clock struck double-figures, Crusaders were two goals to the good care of two of the easiest goals they will score all season.

Just three minutes in, a long Jordan Forsythe throw was allowed to fling its way right into the six yard box, from where Jordan Owens flicked a volley past Cliftonville keeper Brett Long.

And the second goal wasn't from any further out as another set-piece, this time a Paul Heatley corner-kick, found it way inside the six yard box where Colin Coates converted.

His afternoon took a dramatic turn for the worse on the hour-mark, when he picked up two bookings in three minutes and the accompanying red.

The Crues captain will have been a relieved man when Levi Ives was given a straight red card on 70 minutes for a two-footed tackle on Declan Caddell.

The Reds could still have mounted a comeback and felt they should have had a penalty on 76 minutes. Their appeals certainly had merit as Billy Joe Burns appeared to lift a hand and hit the ball inside the area, but referee Tim Marshall didn't award the spot-kick.

In the end, they did at least give their North Belfast rivals a scare when Jay Donnelly hooked home Chris Curran's cross in injury-time

Linfield made it four wins from four as they edged Ballymena United 1-0.

Andrew Mitchell got the breakthrough on 78 minutes when he was brought down in the box and picked himself up in time to convert from the spot.

And things went from bad to worse for visiting Ballymena when Andrew Burns was dismissed after a late challenge on Jamie Mulgrew.

Paul Smyth had tried on several occasions to mark what appears to be his final Linfield game with a goal but was denied by Ballymena keeper Conor Brennan. He also had to save a few efforts from substitute Aaron Burns, who came on to replace the injured Jordan Stewart during the first half. Mark Haughey was also denied by a goal-line clearance.

It wasn't all one-way traffic as Kyle Owens and Joe McKinney both tested Roy Carroll - but that was as good as it would get for David Jeffrey's side.

On Friday night, Coleraine had briefly taken the outright lead care of a 2-1 win over Warrenpoint Town that maintained their 100% start to the season.

The Bannsiders had gone 1-0 ahead in the first half through Jamie McGonigle. Straight after that opener, Warrenpoint's Darren Murray fired a warning shot just wide and on the stroke of half time, followed it up with the equalising goal.

His night turned sour after the break as he was dismissed and the Bannsiders took advantage when Darren McCauley bagged the goal to send his side top.

There was an Irish League thriller at Mourneview Park as Glenavon's new-signing Josh Daniels saved them from defeat after their former striker Robbie McDaid came off the bench to net twice for Glentoran and send his side within minutes of the third win from four only to see the match drawn 2-2.

Glenavon were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to a spectacular 25 yard effort from Andrew Mitchell. The summer signing picked up a offload from Rhys Marshall and curled into the bottom corner beyond the reach of Elliot Morris. The Glentoran goalkeeper had earlier pulled off two spectacular saves from Mitchell to keep his side in the game.

It was in the final 10 minutes that the game really sprung into life, sparked by the introduction of Robbie McDaid. The former Glenavon forward netted twice to turn the game on its head, two clinical finishes. That seemed the pergect story for the Glens but on came Glenavon debutant Josh Daniels to convert from a goalmouth scramble and level the game at 2-2.

Dungannon Swifts got their first points of the season thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Ards, who remain rooted on zero points.

David Elebert's Ards debut took a disastrous turn when he was sent off and, to add insult to injury, Dougie Wilson drove home the result free-kick, albeit with the help of a deflection.

And an Andrew Mooney double, the first a delicious long range chip and the second a dinked finish over Ballinamallard keeper Richard Brush, saw Carrick Rangers to a 2-0 home win.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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