Irish Premiership: Top two Linfield and Coleraine win as Reds beat Glentoran

Chris Curran scored the opening goal as Cliftonville beat Glentoran at the Oval
Chris Curran scored the opening goal as Cliftonville beat Glentoran at the Oval

Champions Linfield maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Irish Premiership table with a 2-0 win over Carrick Rangers.

The Blues comfortably secured three points at Taylor's Avenue as second-placed Coleraine stayed in touch with a 2-0 success at rivals Ballymena United.

Glentoran dropped down to fifth after a 2-0 home defeat by Cliftonville.

Crusaders beat Institute 2-1 and Warrenpoint Town shared eight goals with Dungannon Swifts.

In a crazy, ding-dong battle at Stangmore Park, Colm Deasy scored a goal of the season contender and Rhyss Campbell netted a last-kick-of-the-game leveller for Dungannon in a fitting end to an extraordinary contest.

Magic Millar keeps Blues four clear

Kirk Millar's double helped the Blues to a comfortable victory over Carrick Rangers as the Premiership pacesetters stayed four points clear at the top.

The 17th-minute opener arrived thanks to a big slice of fortune as Daniel Magill blasted his clearance straight at Millar with the ball flying back into the net.

Carrick, with the first-half wind advantage, went close through Lloyd Anderson, Darren Murray and Alex Gawne but the Taylor's Avenue hosts offered little in the second half.

Linfield seized control on the restart and Millar completed his double with superb curling free-kick into the top before spurning chances to chalk up a hat-trick.

Jeffrey sees red as Coleraine reach cloud nine

Coleraine made it nine successive wins in all competitions by beating derby rivals Ballymena 2-0 to keep up their pursuit of leaders Linfield.

Stephen Lowry gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot in the 10th minute after Scot Whiteside was adjudged to have fouled Eoin Bradley inside the area.

The Sky Blues had manager David Jeffrey sent-off in the second half, the home manager receiving a second yellow card for disputing refereeing decisions.

Aaron Canning added the second with a looping header over Ross Glendinning from Josh Carson's delivery 20 minutes from time.

Coleraine remain four points adrift of Linfield while Ballymena stay 10th after picking up just one point from a possible 30 in their last 10 league encounters.

Currans combine to dash Glentoran's title hopes

Goals from Cliftonville's Curran double act - Chris and Ryan - dealt a blow to Glentoran's title hopes after the Reds ran out 2-0 winners at the Oval.

Glentoran created the better chances during a wind-affected first half at the Oval. Ruaidhri Donnelly, playing against the Reds for the first time since joining the Glens in January, came closest when his far-post header produced a fingertip save from Richard Brush.

Ronan Doherty's long-range drive was Cliftonville's only shot of note but, while well-struck, it fell victim to the wind and sailed wide.

Ruaidhri Donnelly's Cliftonville reunion ended in a disappointment at the Oval
Ruaidhri Donnelly's Cliftonville reunion ended in a disappointment at the Oval

Elvio Van Overbeek passed up two opportunities to score with Garry Breen blocking the Dutchman's volley shortly after the Glentoran winger had failed to get his shot away having been found by Donnelly.

However, Cliftonville found their groove playing into the breeze after the break and took the lead within two minutes of the restart when Chris Curran poked past Elliott Morris having been teed up by Michael McCrudden.

The opener came only a minute after an opportunistic Joe Gormley had been penalised for heading the ball out of Morris' hand before scoring.

On 64 minutes, Ryan Curran made it 2-0 when he flicked the ball over Patrick McClean's head and showed impressive composure under pressure to fire low into the net to give the home side a mountain to climb.

From there, the Glens were unable to mount a comeback and now find themselves 11 points adrift of Linfield as Cliftonville gained a psychological boost ahead of facing Glentoran in the Irish Cup semi-final.

Last-gasp leveller as Swifts and Point play out Stangmore stunner

Rhyss Campbell's goal in the final minute of injury-time earned Dungannon Swifts a dramatic 4-4 draw against struggling Warrenpoint Town at Stangmore Park.

Warrenpoint full-back Colm Deasy scored at both ends in a 60-second period just after the half hour as his unfortunate own goal was followed by a sensational goal-of-the-season contender strike from 30 yards.

Dungannon regained the lead four minutes after the break from a Michael Carvill penalty only for goals from Alan O'Sullivan, Mark McKee and Brandon Doyle to seemingly put Warrenpoint in control by the 73rd minute.

But Ryan Waide gave Dungannon hope with his 75th-minute reply before Campbell's last-gasp leveller.

With Institute losing against Crusaders, Warrenpoint move three points ahead of the bottom-placed club but manager Barry Gray will be regretting the loss of two potentially crucial points.

Two quickfire goals at Stangmore

Crues come from behind to beat Stute

Crusaders moved up to third place in the table after coming from behind to beat Institute 2-1 at Seaview.

The relegation-threatened visitors took the lead with a minute on the clock when Conor Tourish met a free kick with a header which looped over Crusaders keeper Sean O'Neill and into the net.

The home side regrouped at the interval and half-time substitute Jordan Owens caused confusion in the Institute defence for Philip Lowry to steer home a 48th minute equaliser.

And the home side claimed the winner on 58 minutes when Tourish's attempted clearance only succeeded in diverting the ball into the path of Paul Heatley, who raced clear to slot past Stute keeper Rory Brown.

Larne hold on against Lurgan Blues

Larne moved to within three points of Glentoran in fifth place after edging out Glenavon 1-0 in the late kick-off at Inver Park.

Mark Randall scored the game's only goal with 15 minutes on the clock after converting John Herron's deflected cross from close range.

Tiernan Lynch's men failed to take several chances to add to their tally, most notably from Herron, Dean Jarvis and Lee Lynch, and Glenavon almost made the hosts pay for their missed opportunities.

Conor McCloskey's superb free-kick rattled the crossbar, and the Glenavon forward beat Conor Mitchell with an excellent 25-yard strike minutes later, only to see his latest effort ruled out for an offside in the build up.

There was concern, and a possible penalty shout, for Gary Hamilton's men after Fuad Sule and Jordan Jenkins collided in the Larne area, which resulted in the Glenavon striker being carried off on a stretcher with 10 minutes to go.

McCloskey went close again from range in seven minutes of injury time, but Larne held on for a sixth league victory in a row to put the pressure on the top five.

Irish Premiership - Saturday 7 March
Ballymena United0-2Coleraine
Carrick Rangers0-2Linfield
Dungannon Swifts4-4Warrenpoint Town
Larne1-0Glenavon (17:30 GMT)
Bluefin Sport Championship
Ballinamallard Utd1-0 Dundela
Dergview2-0Queen's University
H&W Welders1-2Ards
Knockbreda1-3Ballyclare Comrades

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