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Three reign

Cliftonville 3-1 Glenavon

Cliftonville produced a mesmerising first-half performance en route to taking all three Danske Bank Premiership points against Glenavon this evening.

Ahead after just three minutes when Joe Gormley nodded home from Ronan Doherty’s inch-perfect cross, the Reds doubled their advantage when the striker bagged his second of the night from close-range.

Ryan Curran’s eye-catching blast made it 3-0 after just half an hour and, though the Lurgan Blues reduced the arrears early in the second half, Cliftonville were good value for a well deserved win.

The night began on an emotional note when Tommy Breslin’s family joined both teams on the pitch for a minute’s applause in his memory, while former assistant manager Peter Murray assisted Chris Curran, Dr John Campbell and Club Physiotherapist Chris McKenna in carrying a commemorative wreath out of the tunnel.

When the game began, the Reds set about their task from the start and took an early lead when Gormley rose highest to power a close-range header past Jonny Tuffey following Doherty’s dinked delivery.

A Gormley half-volley whistled just wide before the striker doubled Cliftonville’s advantage with a cool finish after a quick one-two with Ryan Curran and, just two minutes later, it was Curran whose emphatic strike from the edge of the area had home fans celebrating again.

Ruaidhri Donnelly was unlucky to see a low attempt drag wide before Ryan Curran was denied by Tuffey after seizing on an error from Andrew Doyle.

Glenavon pulled one back on 53 minutes when half-time sub Andy Mitchell touched Josh Daniels’ delivery home, with the winger twice going close to reducing the deficit further firstly with a strike across the face of goal and then a header which bounced off the top of the crossbar.

Cliftonville had continued to look dangerous going forward and, though they were unable to add to their tally, did come close to doing so when Donnelly’s low blast called Tuffey into action.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Ives, Harkin, R Curran, R Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley, A Donnelly, Gorman. Subs: Dunne, C Curran (for Doherty, 86 mins), Garrett, Foster, Wilson (for R Donnelly, 88 mins), Maguire, Rocks (for Harkin, 90 mins).

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Half Gate Draw Number: 11411