Cliftonville ended the Danske Bank Premiership's last remaining unbeaten record with a 2-1 victory over Linfield at Solitude this evening. James Knowles' first-half penalty set the Reds on their way and, though the Blues roared back into the contest through Paul Smyth, Jay Donnelly's header secured all three points to maintain Cliftonville's winning streak. The visitors might have taken a fifth minute lead when Sammy Clingan's free-kick delivery fell favourably for Mark Haughey but, under pressure from Tomas Cosgrove, he was unable to get sufficient power into his shot to trouble Peter Burke. Soon later, Jimmy Callacher's block prevented Martin Donnelly from breaking the deadlock, while a last-gasp intervention from Levi Ives ensured Ross Clarke's goalbound drive deflected over the top. Some neat build-up from Ives and Ruairi Harkin ended with Daniel Hughes bringing a fine save out of Roy Carroll ahead of Jason McGuinness being unable to get a telling touch on Jude Winchester's cross. The opener arrived on the half-hour when, in attempting to seize upon a loose ball from Martin Donnelly's corner, Hughes fell victim to a clumsy challenge from Matthew Clarke, leaving referee Raymond Hetherington with little choice but to point to the penalty spot, with Knowles stepping up to convert. Linfield equalised five minutes into the second-half when Smyth nodded past Burke from Ross Clarke's inviting cross but it wasn't long before Cliftonville were back in front; Jay Donnelly heading home from a Hughes assist at the end of an eye-catching passing sequence that also included Martin Donnelly, Harkin, Knowles and Winchester. Burke did well to stop a Ross Clarke cross from sneaking into the net and produced some acrobatics to repel a Clingan free-kick before getting down to thwart Clarke again. Hughes went close to extending the Reds' advantage with an overhead kick from McGuinness' header but Burke would have the last telling contribution on proceedings with a wonderful one-handed stop to claw a Haughey header off the line amid a goalmouth scramble, preserving the hosts' lead and securing victory.
Cliftonville 2-1 Linfield
James Knowles sets off in celebration after opening the scoring; Daniel Hughes shields possession from Jimmy Callacher and (right) Peter Burke makes a fine stop from Sammy Clingan
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Caoimhin Bonner Chris Curran Davy McDaid Stephen Garrett Ryan Catney
  
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Peter Burke Jaimie McGovern Levi Ives Jason McGuinness James Knowles Martin Donnelly Daniel Hughes Ruairi Harkin Jude Winchester Jay Donnelly Tomas Cosgrove