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Summary

  1. Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders (R)
  2. Linfield 1-0 Ballymena United (R)

Live Reporting

By Richard Petrie

All times stated are UK

Over and out

Well, that's it from another exciting afternoon of Premiership action.

Only two games, but plenty of excitement and drama to keep us entertained.

Join us for live radio coverage of Tuesday night's League Cup second round as Ballymena begin the defence of the trophy they won last season on BBC Radio Ulster medium wave and the BBC Sport NI website from 19:30 BST.

We'll have score updates and of course we'll be back for another round of matches next Saturday.

Bye for now.

Coates content after Crues win

Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders

It was a typical blood and thunder north Belfast derby. We came out of the blocks well and controlled the first half, then my sending off probably put us under a wee bit of pressure. They threw a lot at us in the last 10 minutes but we were able to see the game out. I thought my first yellow card was justified but the second was a bit harsh.

Colin CoatesCrusaders captain

Gray laments off-colour Reds

Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders

We had a disastrous start and you can't do that against teams like Crusaders. From a defensive point of view we were not good enough and it was a harsh lesson for us.

Barry GrayCliftonville manager

Jeffrey's view

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

I'm most disappointed. I thought our performance more than merited a point and I thought we more than contributed. We wanted a response from last week and we got that in abundance. We worked hard in training all week and we had men of great resolve who gave their all.

David JeffreyBallymena United manager

Healy on Smyth's imminent departure to QPR

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

I'm pleased that it looks like Paul is going to get his opportunity, subject to a medical. Everything else seems to have been agreed. He's been a shining light for us and has given us a spark. He has the ability but the hard work starts for him now.

David HealyLinfield manager

Happy Healy

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

It wasn't our most polished performance but I'm thrilled with the win. This was a different test for us as we were ahead by half-time in our three previous games, while today we had to come out in the second half and find a way. Ballymena had a gameplan and stuck to it but today is massive for us and gives us a bit more momentum going into a new month.

David HealyLinfield manager

Blues back on top

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

So Linfield are back on top of the table, ahead of Coleraine on goal difference, with Glenavon third, two points behind the pacesetters.

All three clubs are unbeaten in the campaign so far.

FULL-TIME

Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders

Crusaders continue their recent domination of the north Belfast derby with their 11th win in the last 12 games between the sides.

The Crues back to winning ways and up to fourth in the table.

CLOSE!

Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders

Matthew Snoddy blasts over the bar from four yards out and then Gavin Whyte is denied by Brett Long as Crusaders push for a third.

FULL-TIME

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

They were made to battle all the way but champions Linfield make it four wins out of four as they continue their perfect start to the season.

Still no goals conceded either by the Blues as they begin the defence of their title in style.

Close but no cigar for Ballymena. Manager David Jeffrey will be happier with his side's performance but just one point from four outings isn't the start to the campaign he was looking for.

GOAL

Cliftonville 1-2 Crusaders

Jay Donnelly pulls one back for Cliftonville, firing into the corner past Brian Jensen after Chris Curran skipped past Mark McChrystal and provided the cross.

A lifeline for the Reds with seven minutes of added time remaining.

Could an unlikely draw be on the cards?

Jay Donnelly pulls one back for Cliftonville

INJURY TIME

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

The fourth official indicates eight minutes of injury time at Solitude.

Still hope for the hosts?

RED CARD

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

Soon after going behind Ballymena are reduced to 10 men when Andrew Burns is sent for an early bath by referee Evan Boyce after a late challenge on Jamie Mulgrew.

PENALTY

Linfield 1-0 Ballymena Utd

Linfield eventually break down Ballymena's stubborn resistance through Andrew Mitchell's well-struck 78th-minute penalty.

Mitchell was brought down inside the area and stepped up to blast past Brennan from the spot.

The second of the season for the former Crusaders midfielder, who was also on target in last week's 4-0 victory at Dungannon.

RED CARD

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

Cliftonville defender Levi Ives receives a straight red card for a high 'over the top' lunge on Declan Caddell, who is stretchered off.

A late and dangerous tackle by Ives and referee Tim Marshall had no choice but to send off the Reds player. Both sides now down to 10 men.

A melee involving several players ensues but calm is soon restored.

GREAT SAVE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Paul Smyth's curling long-range strike is met by an acrobatic save from Conor Brennan as Linfield continue their search for an opener.

More urgency and intent in the second period from David Healy's men.

RED CARD

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

Crusaders captain Colin Coates is sent-off for two rash challenges on Joe Gormley in the space of two minutes.

63 minutes gone and we could be in for an interesting last half hour.

Reds on road to recovery?

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

Cliftonville still trail 2-0 at Solitude but the Reds are more in the game in the second half. Not creating any clearcut chances though.

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Linfield go close as Kirk Millar's corner from the right is met by the head of Mark Haughey, but his attempt is cleared off the line by Fra McCaffrey.

Paul Smyth almost breaks the deadlock soon after. Linfield piling on the pressure with a series of corners.

GREAT SAVE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Roy Carroll makes a fine diving left-handed save to deny Kyle Owens' rifled effort at the start of the second half.

HALF-TIME

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

Paul Heatley squanders a good chance just before the interval but Crusaders lead 2-0 thanks to those two early strikes from Jordan Owens and Colin Coates, both players' second goals of the season.

Crusaders Declan Caddell with goalscorer Colin Coates
Press Eye
Crusaders Declan Caddell with goalscorer Colin Coates

HALF-TIME

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena United

No goals in the first half at Windsor Park. Ballymena looking a bit tighter defensively and all to play for after the break.

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena United

Conor Brennan gathers a low effort from Aaron Burns.

Final Score

BBC Two NI, today, 5pm

Watch highlights from all the weekend's games on BBC Two Ni with Mark Sidebottom in the presenter's chair.

Watch Final Score BBC2 NI at 5pm

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena United

Aaron Burns fires a shot into the arms of Brennan. Not much in this game so far and little by way of goalmouth incidents. Pretty cagey stuff.

CLOSE!

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

Cliftonville goalkeeper Brett Long makes a fine double save to deny Paul Heatley. Crusaders go close to a third.

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena United

Robert Garrett fires a right-foot 20-yard shot just off-target for Linfield. No breakthrough yet!

Latest scores

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders (Owens 3', Coates 9')

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Jordan Owens hooks the ball into the Cliftonville net
Press Eye
Jordan Owens hooks the ball into the Cliftonville net

SUBSTITUTION

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

Jordan Stewart comes off injured for Linfield, Aaron Burns coming on in his place.

Aaron's brother Andrew is in the Ballymena team and both players are wearing the number 14 shirt.

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena United

Linfield goalkeeper Roy Carroll is called upon to make a smart save from Joe McKinney, Ballymena's best chance of the game so far.

Carroll dived low to his right to push McKinney's effort round the post for a corner.

Still score-less approaching the 20th-minute mark at Windsor Park.

CLOSE!

Linfield 0-0 Ballymena Utd

If this is to be Paul Smyth's last game for Linfield before moving to QPR, the forward seems determined to make his mark.

Smyth fired a low cross across the face of goal which none of his team-mates was able to meet, and then drilled a shot straight at debutant goalkeeper Conor Brennan from 20 yards.

GOAL

Cliftonville 0-2 Crusaders

More poor defending from Cliftonville proves costly as Colin Coates makes it two in the ninth minute.

Coates got on the end of a corner to fire home a volley from inside the six-yard area.

Further set-piece woe for Barry Gray's men, who must tighten up at the back if they are not to ship further goals.

Colin Coates doubles Crusaders lead against Cliftonville

Ballymena signings

Jeffrey snaps up midfield duo

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey moved to strengthen his options midweek by signing midfielders Jake McNeill and Daniel McIlhatton, the latter from Moyola Park.

Neither player features today as Ballymena hope to improve on a record of 11 goals conceded in their first three games.

GOAL

Cliftonville 0-1 Crusaders

Cliftonville's central defenders fail to defend a long throw-in from Sean Ward and Jordan Owens volleys home the opener from inside the six-yard area in the third minute. First blood to the Crues!

Jordan Owens gives Crusaders an early lead at Solitude

KICK-OFF

We are underway at Solitude and Windsor Park!

Irish Premiership table - as it stands

Can Linfield knock Coleraine off the summit today?

Irish Premiership table
BBC Sport
Irish Premiership table

Crues dominate derbies

Cliftonville v Crusaders

Crusaders came out on top in all four league encounters against north Belfast derby rivals Cliftonville during the 2016-17 season.

The Crues came from 3-0 down to win 4-3 at Seaview in October 2016 and then hammered the Reds 4-0 at Solitude on Boxing Day.

Stephen Baxter's men triumphed 1-0 on their home ground in January and two second-half Jordan Owens goals helped them come from behind to win 3-2 in the sides' most recent meeting in mid-April.

Healy wary of Ballymena reaction

Linfield v Ballymena Utd

Linfield manager David Healy says his side will give Ballymena United "every respect they deserve" in today's Premiership game at Windsor Park.

Linfield manager David Healy

Gray prepares for north Belfast derby

Cliftonville v Crusaders

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray says his players should be able to motivate themselves for today's north Belfast derby against Crusaders.

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray

Team news

Linfield v Ballymena Utd

Ballymena boss David Jeffrey responds to last week's 6-1 home drubbing by Glenavon by making four changes.

Into the starting line-up come goalkeeper Conor Brennan, Andrew Burns, Fra McCaffrey and Gary Thompson.

Out go Ross Glendinning, Michael Gault and Matthew Shevlin, who drop to the bench, and Kevin Braniff.

Not surprisingly, Linfield manager David Healy names an unchanged team.

No place yet for striker Louis Rooney, the Northern Ireland Under-21 player signed on Friday from Plymouth Argyle.

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