Cliftonville conceded two controversial penalties en route to defeat against Ballymena United in this afternoon's Danske Bank Premiership clash at The Showgrounds. Ahead through Davy McDaid, the Reds were pegged back when Tony Kane scored from the spot after Conor McCloskey took a tumble under pressure from Eamonn Seydak. A horribly deflected Cathair Friel effort put the hosts in front and, when Seydak was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box, Kane once again slotted home a penalty ahead of Ross Lavery registering a late consolation. After Ballymena had carved out two virtually identical openings in the first couple of minutes, the Reds went close to making the breakthrough courtesy of Seydak but, shortly after his shot was scrambled away by a relieved home defence, McDaid found the net after Stephen Garrett had been fed by a sublime Jude Winchester pass. Jason McGuinness then threatened with a header before Gary Thompson was off target with a long-range drive for the hosts, who pulled level on the hour when Kane registered his first penalty of the day. If the Reds felt hard done by for that goal, they were positively cursing their luck when Friel put United ahead with an effort that took a horrible deflection off McGuinness and beyond the despairing grasp of wrong-footed goalkeeper Jason Mooney. With five minutes remaining, referee Arnold Hunter awarded the Sky Blues a second spot-kick when Johnny McMurray's cross struck Seydak's arm, allowing Kane to convert again. Cliftonville reduced the arrears with a well-taken goal from half-time substitute Lavery but there would be no injury-time rally as Ballymena held on for victory.
Reds pay the penalty
Ballymena United 3-2 Cliftonville
Jason Mooney takes command as Jason McGuinness tussles with Kyle Owens; Davy McDaid pounces to open the scoring and (right) Ruairi Harkin challenges Gary Thompson
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Caoimhin Bonner Daniel Hughes Ross Lavery Aaron Donnelly Gary Donnelly
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Jason Mooney Jaimie McGovern Jason McGuinness Chris Curran Davy McDaid Stephen Garrett Eamonn Seydak Ruairi Harkin Jude Winchester Jay Donnelly Tomas Cosgrove