Conor McMenamin and Ryan Curran did the damage as Cliftonville earned a 2-0 victory over Glenavon at Mourneview Park.
The deadlock was broken eight minutes before the interval when McMenamin produced an emphatic finish at the end of a goalmouth scramble that had seen Chris Curran, Joe Gormley and Rory Donnelly test their luck, with Ryan Curran providing the security of a second goal when he found the net from Gormley’s 76th minute assist.
The hosts started the stronger of the two sides but, despite enjoying periods of possession, failed to find much joy in the final third.
Indeed, Cliftonville had the better of what opportunities were created when Jamie Harney headed over from a McMenamin cross while Ryan Curran turned an effort over the bar.
The deadlock was broken on 38 minutes when Jonny Tuffey saved Chris Curran’s attempt with Rory Donnelly’s follow-up blocked before McMenamin eventually found the net.
Reds keeper Richard Brush was finally tested just before the hour when he was called into action to deal with Josh Daniels’ long range effort, while Tuffey was also alert to stop a Gormley turn and shot from a Levi Ives pass.
But Cliftonville’s second goal came with around a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when, at the end of an incisive counter-attack, referee Arnold Hunter played the advantage after Donnelly was hauled down by Seamus Sharkey, with Gormley racing onto the loose ball and laying it off for Ryan Curran to convert.
Cliftonville: Brush, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Curran, R Donnelly, A Harkin, Bagnall, Gormley, McMenamin, Gorman. Subs: Neeson, Ives (for Breen, 55 mins), Catney (Gormley, 90 mins), McConnell, Maguire, A Donnelly, Rocks.