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Cliftonville 0-4 Ballymena United

Cliftonville’s slump continued with a lamentable display against Ballymena United in this evening’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter at Solitude.

Trailing to a deflected Shay McCartan effort, the Reds failed to muster a response during a frustrating first-half which gave way to a much worse second period.

Paul McElroy’s penalty – awarded for Ryan O’Reilly’s foul on the striker – doubled the visitors’ advantage before another deflected McCartan strike made it 3-0.

Leroy Millar would compound Cliftonville’s misery with the fourth on a night when the hosts simply failed to get going.

They did have two penalty appeals waved away by referee Ross Dunlop – first when Conor McMenamin appeared to have been felled by goalkeeper Jordan Williamson on 38 minutes and then, with the score already at 4-0, when McElroy seemed to use his hand to block Chris Curran’s attempted pass to Conor McDermott – but, in truth, there was no doubting Ballymena were deserving of an emphatic victory.

The Reds’ only real opening of note came on 72 minutes when Joe Gormley shrugged off the challenge of Ciaran Kelly but dragged his shot wide, while the only time Williamson was called into action was to touch Daire O’Connor’s 91st minute attempt wide in the aftermath of Michael McCrudden striking the post.

Cliftonville: Brush, McDermott, Breen, O’Reilly, C Curran, R Curran, McMenamin, McKee (O’Connor, 52 mins), Doherty, Gormley, Maguire (McCrudden, 52 mins). Unused subs: Dunne, Foster, Bagnall, Casey, Scannell.