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Late hearted

Cliftonville 1-0 Larne

Cliftonville left it late for the second weekend running as Ryan Curran’s explosive finish earned all three Danske Bank Premiership points against Larne at Solitude.

Eight days on from a similarly dramatic victory over Glentoran, the Reds once again battled until the death in a scrappy contest that looked set to peter out into a goalless draw, especially after Joe Gormley had skewed a second-half penalty wide.

With just four minutes remaining, however, substitute Curran worked a bit of magic to weave his way into the area and, when Ruaidhri Donnelly fizzed the ball across goal in his direction, possession carried through to Seanna Foster, whose low blast was superbly controlled and thundered into the roof of the net by Curran.

The only real opportunity of a low-key first-half came when Roan Doherty’s corner delivery was headed wide of the target by Jamie Harney, however the second period was just a few minutes old when Richard Brush denied Lee Lynch in a one-on-one situation.

Soon later, the Reds were awarded a penalty when Albert Watson dragged Gormley to the ground but, after picking himself up, the striker rolled his kick past the post.

Brush then showed safe hands to grasp a deflected Fuad Sule strike before Curran’s introduction from the bench proved pivotal.

His neat feet took him away from Watson, Jeff Hughes and Tomas Cosgrove before threading Ruaidhri Donnelly into possession on the left. When his low cross was partially cleared by Graham Kelly, Foster smashed the ball back into the danger area, where Curran was lurking to finish things off.

Though the strike came late in the day, the Reds still had work to do to make sure of the points and were once again indebted to Brush, whose acrobatics ensured Harry Flowers’ injury-time volley would not deny a home win.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, Harney, C Curran, R Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley, McMenamin, A Donnelly. Subs: McKee R Curran (McMenamin, 81 mins), Foster (McDermott, 69 mins), Wilson, Maguire, Rocks, Gorman (Gormley, 90 mins).