Carla Devine netted twice as Cliftonville Ladies dug deep for all three points against Derry City Ladies this evening.
Trailing early on at The Brandywell, the Reds roared into a 3-1 lead courtesy of Devine’s brace and fine Emma McMaster strike before being forced into some strenuous rearguard action to preserve a 3-2 victory in the second-half.
Minus the services of experienced duo Billie Simpson and Marissa Callaghan, who were part of the Northern Ireland side defeated by Slovakia in a Women’s World Cup Qualifier last night, Cliftonville almost opened the scoring through Devine early on, only for the Candystripes to break the deadlock soon later.
The hosts’ advantage didn’t last long, however, thanks to Devine finding the net with a well-taken finish.
She would add her second of the night to put Cliftonville in front ahead of McMaster – an unused sub in that international fixture – making it 3-1 from long range.
City pulled one back after the interval and, though the crossbar prevented Megan Weatherall from easing the Reds’ nerves during some frantic closing exchanges, the visitors held on to take full points.
Martin Douglas’ side return to action on Sunday, when they host North Belfast Derby rivals Crusaders Strikers at Solitude (4pm).