Linfield 4-1 Cliftonville

Linfield stay on top of the Carling Irish Premiership after this thumping win over Cliftonville at Windsor Park.

Aaron Burns put the Blues ahead on two minutes with a 22-yard shot after he had been allowed to run from halfway.

Michael Carvill doubled the Blues advantage on 26 after an unselfish pass from Mark McAllister.

Jim Ervin increased the lead on 70 and while Chris Scannell replied on 76, McAllister's 79th-minute penalty completed Linfield's facile win.

Linfield were in control as early as the second minute as Burns ran unchallenged from halfway to just outside the box before firing a 22-yard shot past Ryan Brown.

The Blues extended their lead on 26 as McAllister squared unselfishly for Carvill to tap past Brown.

Reds keeper Brown did well to save from Carvill and Rory Patterson who had charged ahead of the Cliftonville defence and only had the keeper to beat.

Burns also went close to scoring his second goal of the first half just before the break as he nodded just wide.

Unsurprisingly, Linfield were a tad subdued after the break although Cliftonville were unable to exploit the champions' comparative listlessness.

However with their first chance of the second half, the Blues extended their lead as Jim Ervin netted on 70 minutes.

Scannell pulled a goal back for the Reds as his low shot deceived Alan Blayney but McAllister's emphatic penalty to the roof of the net re-established the three-goal advantage after Brown had brought down Carvill.

The victory keeps the Blues ahead of Portadown on goal difference at the top of the table.

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