Irish Premiership: Cliftonville top as Glentoran beat Linfield 3-0

Cliftonville's win was their first at Seaview in a Boxing Day north Belfast derby for 10 years
Cliftonville's win was their first at Seaview in a Boxing Day north Belfast derby for 10 years

Cliftonville beat Crusaders 2-1 to take over at the top of the Irish Premiership table from Linfield who lost 3-0 away to Glentoran.

Crusaders scored in the second minute but Cliftonville fought back to win thanks to two goals by Conor McMenamin.

Hrvoje Plum scored twice after Elvio Van Overbeek's opener as Glentoran humbled champions Linfield and stretched their unbeaten record to 11.

Coleraine are up to third following their 2-0 win over Ballymena United.

Bottom club Warrenpoint Town pulled off a 1-0 win away to Institute while Glenavon beat Dungannon Swifts 5-0 and Larne were held to a 0-0 draw by Carrick Rangers.

The defeat by Cliftonville leaves Crusaders still seeking their first home league victory since 4 October
The defeat by Cliftonville leaves Crusaders still seeking their first home league victory since 4 October

At the end of a dramatic afternoon of Irish Premiership action Cliftonville, who last won the title in 2014, are one point ahead of Linfield and Coleraine while Glentoran are up to fourth and Crusaders fall to fifth.

At Seaview, it was David Cushley who gave the Crues that superb start, placing a precise finish from the edge of the box into the bottom corner from Ross Clarke's pass.

The lead only lasted four minutes as McMenamin drew the visitors level, controlling well with his back to goal and finishing cleverly through BJ Burns' legs after a good run and pass by Ryan Curran.

The second half was less exciting than the first, with Crues full-back Jarlath O'Rourke having a goal disallowed for offside before McMenamin scored the winner in the 78th minute with another well-controlled left-foot strike.

Glentoran's big 3-0 win over Linfield has boosted their hopes of mounting a serious title challenge.

There was a poignant moment on three minutes, with players and supporters pausing for a minute's applause in memory of Harrie Marcus Kane, son of Glentoran captain Marcus, who sadly passed away last week.

Glentoran's emphatic victory leaves them just three points off the top
Glentoran's emphatic victory leaves them just three points off the top

Elvio van Overbeek's cheeky backheel put Mick McDermott's men ahead after seven minutes, with Linfield growing into the half but failing to create many clear-cut chances.

Linfield came out firing after the break, with Andrew Waterworth having a header disallowed for offside, before Glentoran doubled their lead two minutes later through Hrvoje Plum's superb 20-yard strike with 15 minutes to go.

Plum was then fouled by Josh Robinson in the area, with the Croatian himself beating Rohan Ferguson with a well-struck penalty.

Coleraine claim first league win in five

Coleraine took all three points from their derby with Ballymena at Ballycastle Road thanks to first-half strikes from Josh Carson and Jamie Glackin.

Carson drilled a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net after Aaron Canning's throw-in had been flicked on by Eoin Bradley in the ninth minute.

Eight minutes later Glackin put away the rebound after picking up on the loose ball after Jordan Williamson had saved from Eoin Bradley.

Josh Carson was on target for Coleraine against Ballymena
Josh Carson was on target for Coleraine against Ballymena

United were reduced to 10 men in the second half when keeper Williamson handled outside the area to save Bradley's effort.

Ballymena remain seventh, six points behind Larne, after their first defeat in four top-flight outings.

Glenavon made an explosive start against Dungannon with a goal inside the opening 15 seconds.

Josh Daniels' through ball was not cut out by defender Caomhan McGuinness and Conor McCloskey powered into the penalty area to fire a rising drive past Conner Byrne.

The home side doubled their advantage on the half-hour when Jordan Jenkins played a neat one-two with McCloskey before the young striker found the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Dungannon's afternoon went from bad to worse on 34 minutes when midfielder Terry Fitzpatrick was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Glenavon's front two combined again for the third goal on 64 minutes with Jenkins surging into the left hand side of the penalty area before teeing up McCloskey to side-foot home.

Josh Daniels nodded home Glenavon's fourth from a McCloskey corner and Robbie Garrett completed the rout with a left-foot drive from the edge of the area.

Glenavon won easily against Dungannon who finished with 10 men
Glenavon won easily against Dungannon who finished with 10 men

Eamon Scannell's 64th-minute goal earned Warrenpoint Town in the basement battle against one-from-bottom Institute.

The hosts were left to rue missing a series of chances prior to Scannell's goal as Warrenpoint's win moved them to within a point of their opponents.

Town keeper Mark Byrne made a superb full-length save to deny Brendan McLaughlin early on before the Institute man headed over a glorious chance.

Joe McCready also wasted a couple of glorious 'Stute opportunities before Scannell struck the winner after Alan O'Sullivan had superbly controlled a long ball before setting up the substitute.

Institute produced intense late pressure but Warrenpoint held on to earn a crucial victory.

Derby game drawn at Inver

There was nothing to separate the sides at a rain-soaked Inver Park as Larne and Carrick Rangers played out a disappointing 0-0 draw in the east Antrim derby.

The biggest chance of the first half fell to Carrick's Lloyd Anderson, who forced a fine save from Conor Devlin after finding space in the Larne penalty area.

Martin Donnelly, Larne's leading scorer this season, should have broken the deadlock a minute after the restart, but he headed wide after being picked out by a fantastic Ben Tilney cross.

The game's major flashpoint arrived on 53 minutes when Mark Randall clashed with Carrick captain Mark Surgenor inside the box. Randall went down looking for a penalty but appeared to push his head into Surgenor as he got to his feet. After consulting with his assistant, referee Keith Kennedy showed Randall a yellow.

Larne stay in sixth place in the table, eight points adrift of Crusaders while Carrick remain ninth after failing to score for a third game in succession.

Danske Bank Irish Premiership
Coleraine2-0Ballymena Utd
Crusaders1-2Cliftonville
Glenavon5-0Dungannon Swifts
Glentoran3-0Linfield
Institute0-1Warrenpoint Town
Larne0-0Carrick Rangers
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballinamallard United3-0Dergview
Ballyclare Comrades1-1Newry City
Knockbreda 0-8Ards
Loughgall0-2Portadown
Craig Memorial Cup final
Moyola Park0-1Portstewart
Bob Radcliffe Cup final
Dungannon Swifts Under-20s1-1Rathfriland Rangers
Rathfriland won 4-2 on pens

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