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Two good

Cliftonville Ladies 3-2 Linfield Ladies

Cliftonville Ladies held their nerve to make it two wins from two in the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership with a 3-2 victory over Linfield Ladies at Solitude this evening.

Two goals up at the break courtesy of Kirsty McGuinness and Marissa Callaghan, the Reds saw their advantage halved before Toni-Leigh Finnegan restored their two-goal advantage from the penalty spot.

The Blues would pull another goal back in the closing minutes but, despite the grandstand finale, John McGrady’s girls held on for maximum points.

Cora Morgan threatened early on for the visitors before the McGuinness sisters in the Cliftonville line-up – Kirsty and Caitlin – threatened to force a couple of promising openings. And it was the elder sibling who broke the deadlock on 25 minutes when she nodded Chloe Orr’s perfectly-weighted cross past Nicole Adams.

A superb stop from Rachel Norney prevented Morgan from registering a leveller just past the half-hour and that intervention would prove crucial because, within a minute, the Reds had doubled their advantage at the other end; Callaghan finishing off from close range after great work from Louise McDaniel.

Fi Morgan drew a comfortable save from Adams early in the second-half before a cross from Kirsty McGuinness came within inches of dropping beneath the crossbar.

After Yasmin White had done well to stop Cora Morgan pulling a goal back for Linfield, the deficit was reduced when Rebecca Bassett converted the rebound from another Norney save.

Nine minutes from time, however, Cliftonville were presented with the opportunity to restore their two-goal lead when a handball offence in the box earned a penalty which Finnegan stepped up to convert.

The woodwork prevented Kirsty McGuinness from doubling her own personal tally against her former Club before Rebecca McKenna’s finish made it 3-2 and gave the Blues a fighting chance as the game ticked into injury-time, during which Caitlin McGuinness struck the bar as an end-to-end affair ended in dramatic fashion.

Cliftonville: Norney, Orr, White, Moran, Morgan, Finnegan, McDaniel, C McGuinness, K McGuinness, Callaghan, Connolly (McHenry, 72 mins). Unused subs: Montgomery, Davis, Mailey, McAuley.