Darren Murray set Cliftonville on course for a return to winning ways against Ballinamallard United at Ferney Park this afternoon. After the hosts had midfielder Liam Flatley sent off, Murray blasted the Reds in front and, though Adam Lecky levelled for United on the stroke of half-time, the winning goal arrived when Chris Curran's wicked cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Ryan McConnell - although Cliftonville were made to sweat for victory and heaved a sigh of relief was Jason McCartney steered a penalty wide of the post. The Reds had enjoyed a bright opening to proceedings but were simply unable to fashion a breakthrough; Jay Donnelly twice going close after some inventive work by Stephen Garrett. Ballinamallard were reduced to 10 men in harsh circumstances when Flatley's collision with Jason McGuinness was deemed worthy of a straight red card by referee Keith Kennedy and the visitors wasted little time in making their numerical advantage count - Murray racing onto Tomas Cosgrove's pass to smash an unstoppable first-time strike beyond goalkeeper James McGrath. On course to comfortably maintain their lead going into the interval, Cliftonville were rocked when Lecky netted with the final kick of the first-half after Jason Mooney had failed to keep hold of a flighted free-kick delivery. After the break, Jay Donnelly went close to scoring from a Ross Lavery cross and Murray twice went close to his second of the afternoon before the Reds pulled back in front when Curran - introduced from the bench just seconds earlier - set off on an assertive charge down the flank and whipped in a ball which McConnell turned past McGrath at the near post. The Mallards were presented with a golden chance to level 10 minutes from time when Jaimie McGovern was adjudged to have felled Lecky inside the area but McCartney sent his penalty wide of the mark and Cliftonville's margin of victory might have been more comfortable were it not for a fine McGrath save to turn Ruairi Harkin's fierce drive onto the crossbar.
Murr like it
Ballinamallard United 1-2 Cliftonville
Ruairi Harkin steps past the challenge of Adam Lecky; Jason McGuinness clears under pressure and (right) Darren Murray battles with Ross Taheny
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Caoimhin Bonner Chris Curran Davy McDaid Martin Donnelly Gary Donnelly
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Jason Mooney Jaimie McGovern Levi Ives Jason McGuinness Stephen Garrett Ruairi Harkin Jude Winchester Darren Murray Jay Donnelly Ross Lavery Tomas Cosgrove