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Three reign

Cliftonville 3-1 Crusaders

Cliftonville blew Crusaders away in a whirlwind start to this afternoon’s North Belfast Derby clash at Solitude.

Three to the good with barely a quarter of an hour on the clock, the Reds repeatedly went close to mirroring the four-goal haul they clocked up in last month’s meeting with the Crues, who registered a late consolation through Jordan Owens.

The deadlock was broken after just six minutes when Joe Gormley swept in a superb angled half-volley after a Jaimie McGovern throw-in had caused havoc in the visiting penalty area and, soon later, it was 2-0 thanks to a cool Rory Donnelly finish from a Gormley assist.

On 16 minutes, the Reds were awarded a penalty when a tangle between Jamie Harney and Brian Jensen ended with the Crusaders goalkeeper needlessly tripping the home defender; Gormley stepping up to make no mistake from the spot.

Though both teams had a host of chances thereafter, it wasn’t until the final minutes that the day’s next goal was delivered, with Owens producing a smart close-range finish beyond Brian Neeson as the Crues fell to their first away defeat of the Danske Bank Premiership season.

Full report to follow…