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Bolt from the Blues

Cliftonville Ladies suffered injury-time heartbreak in this evening’s Danske Bank Women’s Premiership clash with Linfield Ladies at Solitude.

Ahead through Marissa Callaghan, the Reds were punished for failing to make their dominance count when the Blues rattled in two quickfire goals and, though Rachel McConnell would level matters, the visitors claimed a last-gasp victory that mathematically ends Cliftonville’s title dreams.

After Billie Simpson had tried her luck with a free-kick and Emma McMaster had sent an effort against the post, the breakthrough came when Callaghan capitalised on a deflected shot to slot home.

Simpson thought she’d made it 2-0 when her effort cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and was cleared with the officials deeming the ball hadn’t crossed the line before Chloe Orr became the third Cliftonville player of the night to be denied by the woodwork.

After producing such a commanding first-half display, the Reds were gutted when Rebecca Bassett and Megan Bell struck within minutes of the re-start to put Linfield ahead, but McConnell would breathe fresh life into the hosts’ title aspirations when she pounced to restore parity.

Despite a brave push to go on and win the game, Martin Douglas’ side – who had Megan Weatherall dismissed following two yellow cards – were rocked in the closing minutes when Kirsty McGuinness netted from long range to seal the game and extend Linfield’s lead at the top of the Premiership.