Irish Premiership: Linfield win to move top as Crusaders take victory in derby
Linfield saw off a stubborn Ballymena United 1-0 at Windsor Park to move to the top of the Premiership thanks to Andrew Mitchell's 78th-minute penalty.
The visitors had Andrew Burns sent-off soon after for a foul on Jamie Mulgrew.
Crusaders lie fourth after a 2-1 win over north Belfast rivals Cliftonville, Jordan Owens and Colin Coates scoring their goals in the first 10 minutes.
Coates and Levi Ives were red-carded before Jay Donnelly grabbed an injury-time consolation for the Reds.
Linfield are top of the league on goal difference from Coleraine, both sides having won their first four games, with Glenavon third on 10 points.
Set-piece woe for Reds
Poor defending from set-pieces proved costly for Cliftonville in the early stages at Solitude, Owens hooking the ball home from two yards out in the second minute after the home defence failed to deal with a long Sean Ward throw-in.
Coates volleyed in from inside the six-yard area four minutes later following a corner as Crusaders took control.
Paul Heatley forced Brett Long into a fine double save and then Coates was dismissed for two bookable fouls on Joe Gormley in the space of two minutes around the hour mark.
Ives followed the Crues skipper to the dressing rooms for a dangerous high tackle on Declan Caddell, which led to the midfielder being stretchered off.
Donnelly fired into the corner in the first minute of stoppage time, before Matthew Snoddy and Gavin Whyte went close to adding a third for the visitors.
For Crusaders, it was their 11th win in their last 12 derby outings.
Blues edge Sky Blues
In a first half of few chances at Windsor Park, Roy Carroll saved well from Joe McKinney and Robert Garrett fired inches wide for Linfield.
Carroll made another fine diving stop to deny Kyle Owens soon after the resumption, then Fra McCaffrey cleared Mark Haughey's header from a Kirk Millar corner off the line.
Paul Smyth looks set to complete his transfer to Queen's Park Rangers on Monday and the forward almost marked his final appearance for the Blues with a goal but his curling effort was met by an acrobatic save from United's debutant goalkeeper Conor Brennan.
Mitchell blasted home the winner from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the area by substitute Willie Faulkner and within a minute Burns saw red for a late two-footed challenge.
The result leaves Ballymena without a win, having drawn one and lost three of their opening four fixtures.
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