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Bally poor show

Ballymena United 1-0 Cliftonville

Cliftonville slipped to another frustrating defeat as Ballymena United bagged the only goal of this afternoon’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter at The Showgrounds.

In a tight contest, the hosts took the points courtesy of Emmet Friars’ strike in the final quarter of an hour as the Reds disappointing start to the season continued.

Neither side stamped any real authority on proceedings early on and, though Jay Donnelly found the side netting and United’s Joe McKinney dragged an attempt wide before being a second effort blocked, it was little surprise to see the sides go in scoreless at the interval.

After the break, Conor McCloskey threatened for the hosts and Tony Kane saw a header turned over the top by Brett Long before Joe Gormley aimed a drive at goalkeeper Conor Brennan at the other end.

It became increasingly evident that one goal would settle the affair and, unfortunately for Cliftonville, it was Friars who provided it when he got the final touch on Kane’s fierce delivery into the area.

That ultimately proved sufficient for the Sky Blues to pocket all three points, although they heaved a sigh of relief in injury-time when substitute Daniel Hughes went close with a fine strike that was deflected just wide.

Cliftonville: Long, McGovern, Breen, Curran, Garrett, Bagnall, Gormley, J Donnelly, Cosgrove, A Donnelly, R Donnelly. Subs: Ives, Ramsey, Hughes (for Gormley), M Donnelly, Winchester.